My trauma manifests itself in a scar on my right cheek. It curves the way of my cheekbone like a slanted happy face, stretching between the corner of my nose and the top of my ear. My partner kisses it every morning before he goes to work: a kiss on the lips for love, a kiss on my scar for comfort. Some days my scar is faded to a light pink as if it is healing over, but he still remembers to kiss it.
Sometimes my scar is a deep red and inflamed and it hurts for me to smile. Despite years of living with it, there are days when it’s all I see when I look in the mirror. Other times I barely notice it’s there, though I don’t think a day has gone by when I haven’t thought of it at all.
On a bad day I go to work and my colleagues say “oh, that looks sore.” I’m asked if I’m still okay to work. I say I’m fine and I’m used to it, even though all I really want to do is go home and press a cold bottle of beer against the wound to soothe it. And then drink the beer, even though drinking hurts too because of course I have to use my face muscles for that.
When I meet up with friends and family in the evening they enquire about my scar, if it looks particularly sore. They say they are glad they don’t have my scar. They have their own traumas that manifest themselves in different ways, but they are all visible, and we all remember to enquire after each other’s scars. How can we not? My friends always remember. My friends would never leave me to deal with my trauma on my own, to tend to my wound alone, to fester in my own stinking, decaying thoughts.
If only. A broken arm gets more attention than a broken soul. I wish I could change that.
These are my wishes for my trauma. Invisible scars just aren’t good enough.
Bio: Sam Rose is a writer, poet and editor living in the UK with her partner. She is the editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine and The Creative Truth, and is currently studying part time for her MA Creative Writing. In her spare time she enjoys learning Swedish and eating chocolate. Find her on Twitter @writersamr and at http://www.writersam.co.uk.