Marked for life

It was a Saturday and I was stopped in Grand Forks taking a break. Heat and distance had tired me out, so I was sitting in the shade at a gas’n’go drinking some water to rehydrate. I don’t know how many miles were behind me.

Another hundred and a half and I’d be home.

I watched her pull up to the air pump in front of me in her beater. The right front tire was low and needed air. The windows were rolled down. Obviously the a/c wasn’t doing its duty – if it was even working.

I watched her as she got out. She was young – maybe early- to mid-twenties at the most. Pretty, too. And with dark hair – my nemesis. She was wearing a white blouse with the sleeves rolled up to just under her elbows. Dark slacks. Well-worn brown shoes. Probably on her way to work as a bartender or a waiter.

In her haste to get air for the tire I think she forgot about those rolled-up sleeves.

It looked like she was having some difficulty getting the tire to take air, so I ambled over and offered to help. She explained that she was on her way to a wedding reception and was already late.

I took the air hose from her and as she stood up, I saw the track marks on her arms. They were healed over and scarred – definitely not fresh. Out of the corner of my eye I could see that she was watching me notice them.

I looked up at her.

“Are you all right?” I asked.

“I am now,” was her reply.

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