Wounds and Thumbprints

Maybe it was the jam thumbprint cookies I made last night, but all night I dreamed about wounds.

I woke up thinking about you.

And me.

And how we wear our wounds less like balls-and-chains and more like thumbprints – craters, really – indenting our very cores.

They are large and visible, sometimes honed through years of weathering.

While the world generally makes out the shape of the thumbprint unique only to each of us, those who really know us sometimes see exactly how the wound events unfolded all those years ago.

I see you – a tiny boy, toddler really. Your spirit hopeful, optimistic, a bit yearning. And then, suddenly, across your tiny face, a look of shock, no, dismay, actually. And then pain. Crestfallen.

A betrayal.

Was it her? Your mother?

I know how she could be.

You never did tolerate fickle. Or me.

You read fickle as too mutable, too unpredictable. Too scary.

In the face of what you must have experienced as that tiny boy I understand.

Your defense mechanism is to go to battle.

The trigger a slightest movement out of the corner of an eye or just within ear shot. And then it’s guns blazing, mowing down with precision.

Words and if that’s not enough, fists.

My own wound is that I am the invisible one. No one to catch me, no one would even see me slip away. It’s a hollow aloneness.

My defense mechanism is making my way, always myself, driving ahead, forging, proving. No one else to rely on in the end.

It’s why dependence makes me flee. Makes me dance as if I’m walking on coals. Makes me fickle.

No wonder we didn’t make it.

No wonder we tried.