Ellie pulled on her knit black sweater in a rush, stretching it as long as she could down her arms. Her mom would always complain about that bad habit. “Ellie, what are you doing? You’ll ruin your sweater!”
Whatever, she would say, inside her head. She wouldn’t dare to talk back to her mom. That would entail at least two days with no internet access or smartphone.
But Ellie had to stretch her sweater that day — her first day at Clover Hill High. If she didn’t do it, the kids would definitely notice that big, nasty scar on her left hand. It was almost as big as her whole freaking hand.
Ellie’s scar started on her wrist, and it crept all the way to her knuckles. It was raised, a bit shiny, and thick. Her skin tone was definitely darker there, making it more noticeable than most scars. Kids had laughed at her in middle school, and her scar had always been a reason for jokes and nicknames. And it was just a matter of time until they found out about her secret in her new school too.
One can change cities and lives, but scars will always follow you.
On her first day at the new school, Ellie had wanted to wear gloves, but it didn’t make sense to do that on a 70-degree day in September. Her mom gave her the “talk.” Again. She would always tell Ellie about how proud she should be of her body, no matter how many scars she carried.
Easy for her mom to say, though. That scar was a reminder of her past. A reminder of how life can be so cruelly impermanent and unfair when at any moment, you could lose all you love. She hadn’t lost who she loved, but it was close!
But thinking of her mom’s words, while she was tensely waiting at the cafeteria line, did something to her that time. The teens were already checking her out since she was the new girl (probably already judging her too.) So Ellie decided she was done hiding it. She’d done that for too long.
Five years after the accident, after constantly hiding from her own shadows, Ellie decided to snap out of that hostage relationship between her and her scar. She simply removed her black sweater, which was basically suffocating her in that hot room anyway.