There was a smudge of something, similar to jelly on the paper. She smeared it dry with her finger and scribbled the ink pen across the top until the ink flowed. She let out a sarcastic laugh while reflecting how completely out of control her life had become in a short time. A poor attempt at a straight line down the side of the paper followed by three more and finally one across. She had four boxes.
My life, she thought, as she penned the four words.
Scratches Dents Broken Usable
Inhaling a deep breath to gather her focus as she thought about the beater car she needed sale in order to have the cash she needed to start, What?, she questioned … “I’m not thinking of that now. I have to focus on this, the car.”
She quickly scribbled the word Scratches. There were scratches on the car when she had bought five years before. A tree limb had smacked it during an ice storm and it had the visible signs of more than a few Walmart whacks. She took a few minutes to list where the scratches were and making a check mark in front of them if she thought they were important enough to be repaired.
Her mind wondered to the whacks she had taken lately. A change in administration on her job forced her from the security of a position she’d held for ten years. A taste of bitterness filled her mouth as she thought about the conversation with the director. “You’re a valuable asset to the company, which is why we chose to relocate you to the other department.” I don’t want to relocate; they didn’t ask me if I wanted to. No one ever asks me anything, they make choices and I have to suffer along with them, learn to compromise and conform.
Shaking her head to fend of the pity tears that threatened her eyes, the pen dug into the paper as she wrote the word Dents. The silver paint on the car had been eaten away by rust on the left rear passenger door. It was a dent she hadn’t had the money to repair after the doctor bills. A smile crossed her face at the horrible scene of blood running down the window and her son splayed out on the concrete. She remembered watching his lip swell before her eyes and his nose bent and bleeding. She had all but forgotten that the failed attempt to skateboard over her car had left a sizable dent in the door.
“Hell, I have my share of dents,” the curt snort she expelled let her know that her dents had also begun to rust due to lack of repair in a timely manner. The list of life dents rambled through her mind and before she realized what she was doing they found their way onto the list under left rear passenger door. Teen mom, divorced before twenty, works too much, doesn’t earn enough … she forced herself to stop when she neared the bottom of the page. “Wonder where you buy putty to fill those gaps?” she asked in a tone that expected an answer from an empty house.
She got up from the disheveled table to pour herself a glass of wine. The bottle had lain in the bottom of the refrigerator since it had been gifted to her at Christmas, it was May. I can’t even motivate myself to get drunk anymore, what the hell is wrong with me? The words chastised her in a familiar tone that sent a shiver down her back.
Sipping on the cold wine and allowing it to slowly trail down her throat gave just enough time to let the memories of a shattered past to bombard her mind. A tear trailed down her cheek and she wiped it away with a determination not to dwell in a place she couldn’t change. Yet, something inside of her was determined to make her confront what she had always refused to acknowledge. The hidden feeling that she felt unwanted.
The events ran past like a slide show; only receiving her moms attention when someone else was around, even to the point of being fed and cared for. Clinging to her daddy, begging him not to leave her when he went to work. The harsh echo of the words,”He ain’t your daddy. Your momma don’t know who your daddy is. He just feels sorry for you.” The squeeze of the pillow over her face as rough hands searched her tender baby fat body. The teasing torment of a teenage boy who threatened to let his friends have her if she didn’t so what he wanted. Begging neighbors for food to feed her younger sister and trying to hide the fact that she didn’t know where her mother was.
She wanted to be angry at the dents that had become rusted and scars on her soul. She wanted to blame, even hate those who had abused and neglected her. She slammed the wine glass on the table and continued to list the dents. The more she wrote it became visible that they were her dents, she could have them repaired, she could fix them herself. She didn’t have to live with them any longer.