When I was in school there was a student who always showed us his bruises. We thought, “How does one so young manage to bruise so much and so easily?”
He’d raise his sleeve sto show us the ones on his arms. He would raise his pant legs to show us the ones on his legs too. He never bruised in places that were easily accessible: always on the arms or on the legs.
But there were no bruises. He would roll up his sleeves or pant legs, point to his “bruise” and say, “Ouch! Boy does that hurt!”
“But there’s nothing there.” He would ignore us, roll down his sleeves or pant legs and say, ‘ouch’ again. For dramatic effect, I suppose.
A few years later at the age of seventeen, his parents bought him a black moped. It was the beginning of summer so he rode it everyday. Even though it made more sense to walk to the corner store he’d ride his black moped there anyway.
A few weeks later, a taxi hit him from behind and dragged him for a half block. It was enough to bruise and cut him. We saw those. We even say the broken bones jetting out of his summer clothes. He died three days later.
We attended the viewing, his former classmates: the ones who could not see the bruises. We all took turns walking up to the casket to pay our respects. I looked into his peaceful face. There was no evidence of the trauma that carried him to this end.
There were no bruises just like when we were kids.