A rusted mess of barbed wire nearly stripped Debbie of her torso in her first and only car accident. On that afternoon, she waited for a storm to pass before kissing her husband goodbye and leaving to meet friends for dinner. Outside, the sky was silvery and rippled like the scales of outstretched fish. Rain pooled in the old road’s sunken pavement. Two miles from her house, Debbie’s car jerked and sailed into a fence.
For three months after the accident, her husband reached for the lamp on his nightstand whenever Debbie began to change for bed. She heard its metal chain clink against the stem as she brushed petroleum jelly over the scars—heard his breath slow as she pushed her head through a pajama top.
“Come here,” she finally whispered across the bed. “You never touch me anymore.”
Only then did he run his fingers along her skin, seeking the landmarks he had known for a decade. He felt the slight hollow above the cleft in her ass, the prominent left rib, the pale rivulets of stretch marks running down her hips. She led his hand to the purple, ridged scars that crisscrossed her chest, and they followed the trails.
Virgie Townsend’s writing has been featured or is forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly: The Best of the First 10 Years, Best of Pif Magazine, Volume One, and Bartleby Snopes, among other publications. Her work can be found online at www.virgietownsend.com.