CREDOS: The scar — I

His thumb softly rubbed the twisted flesh on my cheek. The plastic surgeon, a good fifteen years my senior, was a very attractive man. His masculinity and the intensity of his gaze see-med almost overpowering.

“Hmmm,” he said quietly. “Are you a model?” Is this a joke? Is he kidding? I asked myself, and I searched his handsome face for signs of mockery. No way would anyone ever confuse me with a fashion model. I was ugly. My mother casually referred to my sister as her pretty child. Anyone could see I was homely. After all, I had the scar to prove it.

The accident happened in fourth grade, when a neighbour boy picked up a hunk of concrete and heaved the mass through the side of my face. An emergency room doctor stitched together the shreds of skin, pulling cat-gut through the tattered outside of my face and then suturing the shards of flesh inside my mouth. For the rest of the year, a huge bandage from cheekbone to jaw covered the raised angry welt. A few weeks after the accident, an eye exam revealed I was nearsighted. Above the ungainly bandage sat a big, thick pair of glasses. Around my head, a short fuzzy glob of curls stood out like mould growing on old bread.

To save money, mom had taken me to a beauty school where a student cut my hair. The girl hacked away cheerfully. Gobs of hair piled up. By the time her instructor wandered over, the damage was done. A conference followed; we were given a coupon for a free styling on our next visit. —