I've seen her scars. They are hard to miss. They run the full length of both arms. I always wondered...I mean, they look like burn scars...but how do you ask someone so personal a question?
"Pardon me, I was just wondering...are those burn scars on your arms? Cause they look like burn scars. They look like you roasted your limbs over an open flame. I'm just nosey. Sorry...."
I would never has asked. Never. I am as curious as a cat, but I do try to stay out of people personal space. It's less messy that way.
This woman has a beautiful face. Really. Honey brown skin, dark, dancing eyes, her Native American heritage screams at you. She is a beautiful woman.
With dreadful scars running up her arms.
The other day, she told me her story.
He hit her.
He knocked her out.
Then she woke up.
He was pouring rubbing alcohol on her.
Then he lit a match.
My eyes grew round and my throat constricted and anger began to burn in my chest.
I hated him.
I do not know him, but I hate him.
Hate is a strong word.
We are not supposed to hate.
Then she told me that she saw her skin melt off of her arm.
Her face was covered in flames.
"Your face?" I cried as I stepped closer, searching for unseen scars.
She smiled so sweetly.
"They did a good job didn't they?" she laughed.
I was left silent and dumb-founded.
Today, she is a beautiful, thirty-something young woman. Married to a wonderful man. She recently became a grandmother and she shares her story with other women who have languished under the terror of domestic abuse.
Her scars are a visible reminder of the pain that she has suffered, but instead of hiding them, or being ashamed, she exposes them.
The ugly, puckered skin, the criss-cross scars on her legs, defy the remarkable beauty of her face. The doctors did an amazing job. One would never know that she lived through such a terrible ordeal.
But she is a survivor.
And she is beautiful.