He wanted to see my scars. Fair is fair, he said. I balked, shook my head.
“Why so coy, my dear? You saw my scar. You heard my story. Now it’s my turn. I want to…I want to know you.”
I felt a faint panic rising in my chest. I was prepared to sleep with him, I was prepared to share my body with him, to be naked and wet and moaning with him. I was prepared to feel him slide into me, slick and hard meeting soft and warm. All of that, I was fine with.
I was not prepared for him to know me, to understand me. I was not prepared to let him in. But how do you tell a person, a man that you like very much and are attracted to, “We’ll, I like you and I am more than willing to fuck you senseless, time after time after time, today and for months to come, but no one said anything about like, intimacy.“?
“My only scar is my c-section scar, and you know, you don’t want to see it. Its not pretty or romantic or the consequence of something brave or amazing that I did. And you definitely don’t want to hear the boring ass story that goes with it.”
I leaned in to kiss him, to distract him, to remind him why we were actually here. He pulled away from me. “I want to see. I want to hear.”
He looked away for a minute, and was quiet. “I’m not climbing your walls, Lissa. You either let me in or you don’t. You know what I want from you, and you know what I want to give you. But I can’t do this with just your body.” He twirled his hand in my hair, and brushed his lips against my cheek. I closed my eyes and breathed him in. “I want to do more than just fuck you. I can’t promise you forever any more than you can promise it to me. But I need to know…I need to connect with you. I don’t just want the surface. I don’t just want sparkly Lissa. I want all of you. But you have to want to give it to me.”
My eyes were closed and I was trying desperately not to let him see me cry. I breathed in deeply, breathed out slowly, trying to calm myself and compose myself and rein in these feelings I had forgotten how to feel.
I pulled myself out of his arms. I pulled my shirt up, and I unbuttoned my jeans and I pulled them down low enough for him to see the scar from my c-section. It’s pink and crooked, the result of hasty cutting and hasty stitching. There’s a little pooch there, a loss of muscle tone, a severing of nerves that no amount of gym time has been able to fix. It was a constant reminder of things gone wrong, of other things that cannot be fixed.
“I didn’t plan to have a c-section, but after many hours in labor the baby was in distress, so we just had to do it. It was an emergency situation, and my doctor had to do it very quickly. My blood pressure was dropping and it was not going well. So we did the c-section and it was all pretty much a blur after that.”
“Which baby was it?”
I wiped my eyes.
“We named her Ava.”
I said it, and I waited.
He looked in my eyes and he understood. “Oh, Lissa. Oh, Lissa, I had no idea.”
He crushed me against him, and he let me cry until I stopped. “I didn’t mean to…”
I told him it was ok, and it was.
He leaned down and kissed my scar, just as I had kissed his. He kissed his way across my imperfect belly and he wasn’t repulsed or afraid or pissed off. He was sweet and understanding and, I realized, in. I had let him in, I had spoken her name to him, I had shared something of her with him. She was something, someone, I never mentioned. Thought about always, but never aloud.
This was, indeed, something more. I urged his face up to mine and I took his face in my hands and I pressed my lips against his and I breathed his breath and I felt his hands on my back and I knew. This was something different, something alive and new and worthy of attention and nurturing.
He wiped the last of my tears away and kissed me again.
“Oh yes…” he said, and I felt him relax against me, into me. And I felt myself do the same thing, and I felt a glimmer of something, the stirring of a seed I thought had been buried with my tiny daughter.
And I realized, in a rushing, streaming thought, that it is only in burying seeds that we get to later see them sprout…but only if they are nurtured and watered and warmed by the sunny spring.