The first scar I saw was a small, star-shaped mark on your wrist. I saw it by accident on a rainy day last May when you were reaching for the salt. You always overseasoned your food, especially the fries. I watched you shake the slim canister, your motions growing ever more frenzied as it became apparent that the salt was desiccated within. Perhaps it was the humidity of an early summer season, or maybe it was just that no one had refilled it from the previous shift. Whatever the reason, patience had never been your virtue. In your distraction you let the frayed cuff slide up your arm to reveal that sliver of skin, and I knew then that you had more secrets than even I had guessed at.
Later, you would reveal them one by one with their stories. The ridge on your hip was a sharkbite, you told me. The one on your left thigh was from when you escaped from the topmost window of the Palace of Midnight. The long jagged one behind your knee was your favorite. It was from a duel with a mermaid, and you’d won. I pretended I believed you, we all did, even though everyone knew the truth.
I still see him sometimes. In the bittermost watches of winter he will try to stand for a moment, but he never quite makes it. His eyes used to be full of pleading, but over the years I think they have faded into a sort of a dull jelly. I haven’t seen him lately but the last time I did, out on Route Ten, he didn’t even turn his head. For a fleeting moment I had some coward’s fantasy of defending you, but of course I just walked away and came home to you. Maybe you will let me hold you this time and you will tell me another tale about the sea and your body. Or maybe this is the time when you will finally be gone. I don’t know. I just don’t know.