fiction, life

THE SCARS

Chris R-1231 Image by Christine Renney

Trapped with insufficient light he tends to his wounds. Tracing with his finger tips, finding the hardened, healed and healing skin. The etchings on his arms are intricate, far too complex, and he can’t read them in the dark.
He clambers from the bed and sits on the edge and leans toward the window. Reaching out, he peels back the curtain and gazes at the road. It has been raining, in fact it is still raining. He can see it now, stalled just above the street lamps.
If he had something with which to write he would begin again, start afresh, but he doesn’t have a blade. Of course, there are other ways and he glances at the empty Coke can sitting on top of the nightstand. He could crush it and twist it and twist it until he had fashioned something, something pointed and sharp.
He stands and, turning, he moves alongside the bed. He stumbles in the confined space, steadies himself against the wall and feeling his way he grapples for the light switch.
He flicks it and in the harsh glare he sits on the floor. He looks down at his arms and studies the scars. He is trapped in a cube where it is too bright and he closes his eyes. And he won’t see the Coke can, not unless, not unless he decides.

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29 thoughts on “THE SCARS

  1. One of the key aspects of your writing, Mark, is that each story that you create oozes realism. But more than this is that your characters all come alive as if each story were a recount of actual events: this is more than just empathy, and is why, in my opinion, they impart so much. As ever this piece is no exception. A very moving story (I saw a girl on the bus the other day with marks such as these – Heart-wrenching) which says more than the individual words ever could.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I know people who cut themselves. I know what it’s like to be completely overwhelmed by my own emotions, but to then seek to cut oneself in order to distract oneself from them… that often feels like a whole other level that I’ve never known. You make this incomprehensible act all too understandable, Mark. That’s the power of your writing right there. (And Christine’s photo really brings it home too.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • markrenney2 says:

      Thanks Tony. I agree with you wholeheartedly,when faced with the evidence of self harming like this I felt inadequate, useless. To try and write something was the only thing I could do.

      Liked by 3 people

    • markrenney2 says:

      Thank you Jana, that really does mean a lot. Christine and I met this young man on the streets of Bradford here in the UK. He had been homeless and self harming for years,although he did tell us that he had recently moved into a room. He was happy for Christine to photograph his arms . He was an unassuming and very gentle man.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is a lot here Mark, isn’t there. Yours and Chris’s piece was built from the “inside” rather than entirely as”observers” and then bringing us inside. An exercise in relationship that feels like compassion rather than judgement or documentation. No one is standing outside of this one. We’re all in it together. Pretty cool….

        Liked by 2 people

      • markrenney2 says:

        A lovely thing to say. I was apprehensive about putting the writing and the photograph together. I am not sure why, probably because the photo is documenting something obviously and unavoidably real and what I have written is fiction but Christine convinced me we should.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I remember some kid showing me how to do that with a ripped up coke can yrs ago – little flecks of blood flying all over the place, I thought it was shocking, and forgot about it till now, 35yrs later! Weird!

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  4. Love the amalgamation of image and words – it’s like you know each other, which is a crazy idea given the infinite dimensions of the interweb.

    There’s a pleasure in reading you Mark, so thank you.

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  5. The vividness of the scene you wrote about made me feel like I was a witness in that room. Very powerful, powerful and moving. I feel like I am not the only one who feels so down and hopeless,and wants to know what it feels like to feel something, even if it is pain.

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