Flash Fiction #1 – Seventeen

As part of my classes we’re set weekly writing tasks to strengthen our style. So I figured, why not aim to churn out some pieces on my blog too! I’ll endeavor to post piece of flash fiction (300-400 words) a week on here. This piece is a segment of my response to the writing prompt posted on August 1. Hope you enjoy it!

***

When I was seventeen I dated a guy with scars up and down his arms. A mangled mess of flesh was littered across his forearms and biceps. Along his shoulders the scars only made a brief appearance, thin and meagre as if they were retreating from battle.

We dated during summer. I remember because his skin was tanner than usual making the pink scars seem even brighter. Blatantly exposing them for all the world to see.

I don’t know if he was ashamed of them. But I felt guilty looking. As if my prolonged stare would worsen their appearance and deepen the flesh wounds, both on and under the surface.

He helped me move my bedroom furniture once. It was a sticky sort of summer where sweat glued your limbs together, irrespective of how hard you had the fan blowing. Heavy lifting wasn’t exactly therapeutic in the heat but I needed another bookshelf and the only way it was going to fit in was by rearranging the entire contents of the room already.

That afternoon he wore a grey t-shirt. Every time he lifted an object his muscles would tense and the scars would tighten. I know it didn’t hurt him, but the first time I noticed it happen I instinctively flinched and dropped my end of the new bookcase on his foot.

He grunted and a quick shit escaped his lips. It only made me feel worse but I lied and muttered an excuse about having butter fingers. He didn’t get angry. He was more concerned that we’d damaged the bookcase. To my surprise he didn’t even tease or joke about my incompetence.

I don’t think I even apologised. I think I was too concerned about getting caught out for looking.

I never asked him where they came from. Nor did he ever volunteer the information.

I wanted to appear like I wasn’t fazed by his mutilation. More so, I didn’t want to acknowledge I perceived it as a mutilation. Where they were delicate in sections they were a plethora of brutality in others.

If I had one chance to one thing over, I would have asked.

But like I said, I was seventeen.

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