It’s three thirty in the morning and Dan is asking me where I got my scars. I can barely see him through the mid fall fog, really, from where I’m standing, he’s just this muddled break in the grey-green darkness that occasionally brandishes something shaped like a hand at me; but he’s talking to me like ours eyes our locked. Like I’m supposed to feel intimate and wanted and flushed-inside-out-understood in this moment. I guess I’m quiet for too long because he asks me again how I got my scars, and it’s all I can do to keep from asking which scars, specifically, he means.
I shrug and the fog caves around me. I wonder if he’s watching that, I mean the way I’m leaning away from him. The way my body’s goose bumps are reserved solely for the precipitation and the cold rather than some sense of mastered mystery and romantic comraderey. In those few seconds, I’m imagining that his lips are on the verge of pulling down into frown and I wonder if he’ll ask a third time, which he does.
“Where did you get your scars?”
An owl screams somewhere and I feel that this trio of inquiry has given me an obligation to respond. Another shrug, this time it’s him rolling his shoulders in the fog. While I click the beads on my right wrist together and make a mantra of “I hope he’s getting bored, I hope—“
“They’re from climbing.”
A quick lie, but I’ve got to whisk up some sort of fantastic story to go along with it.
“I was running around on my roof as a kid and—“
I gesture off into the mist, leaving his imagination to fill in the spacious gaps of my perfectly generic, perfect to pandering to future flings sort of story.
I guess he believed that one, because he’s taking my hand and leading me to the edge of what the middle school kids call the “Sex Glade” and sitting me down so our toes brush the edge of the muddy, root tangled water.
And we’re taking off each other shirts and touching and touching and touching and touching
And even in the fog he can see all the other slashes and burns I’ve sketched on my shoulders and stomach and chest and back
But he doesn’t ask about those.
Which is just as well, because I never tell those stories when I’m about to get laid.
I never tell those stories, ever.
And the fog rolls in heavy and I can hear even heavier creatures splashing around in the water just beyond that night-grey veil.