4/17/14 - My adventures in fiction lasted exactly one story. oh well. I’m actually surprised that I don’t hate it. I usually abhor my writing when I look back on it.
He got the concept: Guy has a problem that everyone else can see. Until one day, he looks in the mirror, and suddenly sees himself that way, too. His self-construction shatters, digests, and evolves.
Ceaser knew about this idea, but he’d never had that experience. But he felt like he knew the feeling.
It was during his college years, in a summer spent in a new city. A roommate had forgotten to turn the iron off and left it out overnight. As Caesar reached across the table in the morning, he burned his forearm. As was his way, he over-reacted.
First, he lashed out at the wrong roommate, who calmly found him neosporin and helped him bandage his arm. Eventually, he hissed at the guilty party.
Caesar stewed. He grew preoccupied with the burn. He googled how to prevent scarring. He sent a photo to a doctor. He went so far as to ask about cutting around the scar and stitching it up.
His days went about apace - work, friends, reading. All his normal activities. But his mind always strayed back to this scar. It was a constant cloud. Its shadow smothering whatever happiness that dared trying to surface.
He obsessed until she said something.
Ten days earlier, Ceaser had met a girl. It was a powerful, instantaneous connection. In retrospect, they’d both agree that they it was that feeling of infatuation that only the young are capable, thanks to an extreme naiveté, to confuse as being something far more. For a bit, she was his world. They talked of everything. Including this new scar.
She didn’t say much. But the impact never left.
You shouldn’t be like that. It’s vain.
They both were guilty of projecting. Of falsely idealizing and placing the other on a pedestal of perfection. Each the other’s embodiment of all desired. Regardless, her dozen words, while a rebuke, haunted for what wasn’t said, but made clear: she believed him to be more. More than the burn, that feeling seared into his memory.
Today, she’s a ghost. Someone that Ceaser used to know. Yet nearly ten years from the day when he met her, she was back. This time he was staying with friends in London. This time he was the careless one, but with the same result: Again burning his right arm with an iron. His eyes settled back to that familiar spot. Looking for something, someone, he hadn’t thought of in years. It was still there, unmistakable, but faint. What was once so bold, powerful, and defining, now, but a whisper.
Even that trace will eventually disappear. That thought now made him sad. It was his last trace to her, to that version of himself, to a time when a simple scar could upend his life. She was gone, yet, her reflection of him never left. A constant reminder that the slightest word, the lightest touch, from the right person, can forever change you.