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Sutures

By: Heather Sin

2nd · Adult Writing (2018)

Her name is Kaci – a white girl with chestnut overtones and, like me, a few extra inches in fairly uniform distribution. She was brusque with me, almost perturbed. Rough with collecting instruments, she started ordering me around: take this off, put this here, move this over. She paid no attention until I was fully ready, bandage removed and arm presented. There was then the typical response; a pause so brief, only the return customer catches it. Still rough, she started poking and prodding. The expected annoyance plopped itself on her smooth face. The judgment was palpable, but I’ve never heard the rationale. Perhaps because it’s intentional, these careless acts that each time leave me a little more shameful and a little less human. I am, after all, counterproductive to her purpose.

I didn’t flinch, watching the blue line slowly draw through skin, like the magician’s box of swords. Then her finger ran over the largest part, with old battle scars running perpendicular, old stories headed toward my heart. She didn’t look up, didn’t acknowledge, but I saw her face soften, felt her hand transform – enveloping instead of gripping. A few more snips, a few more tugs, all in silence. She gave me ointment and a bandage, then disappeared through a nondescript door. She never looked at me, never asked, but maybe she understood. Maybe, for one moment, I was a person with childhood stories, a medicine cabinet holding aspirin and antacids, a grocery list on the fridge, old pictures of relatives on display. Maybe, for one moment, she saw the similarities instead of the differences. Maybe, for the tiniest moment, she saw Me.