The days are brisk and I have regained my ability to skip down the Wolfenstein-like halls of the factory. I jangle with change — where the hell did all these coins come from, anyway? I rattle with nervous energy.
Not quite a swagger-back comeback from the past few years in exile, but it's something, a pulse in the pulp. It'll do. With a little rehab I should be able to return to fighting weight. I don't think I'm ever going to rock a 29-inch waist again, but I'll settle for 30.
Time indeed heals the wounds and wounds the heels, but it lacks the mad skills of a fine plastic surgeon. Time does nothing to make everything pretty again. So instead of coming out of exile with new pectoral implants and a fabulous tan I am left to stare at an ugly scar with knots aplenty, the whole mess still an angry red.
I om about it for a while, not thinking about the scar or how I got it, not thinking about whether I earned it. Those things are decided. Add more time and the whole mess will start fading, maybe. Then again, there's a scar on my wrist that dates to 1979 and it's not going anywhere.
Unlike pretty. Pretty goes away. When it does it leaves scars, and sometimes the shock of those sudden spots of ugliness is too much to bear. The mind snaps; the hand reaches for the gutter, for the needle, for the razor.
Not for me, thanks. Not this time around. I'm too stubborn to give up and too curious to leave the building. I have to know what happens next. I want to leave a mark on it as vivid as the ones criss-crossings my insides.
The only way to make a comeback is to actually come back from the desert. My exile has ended. My shoes are filled with sand but they're on a paved road. Up ahead: the civilized world, where I will take the scar out in public, introduce it to my friends. Hello, it's me. Yeah, pretty fucked up, innit? Really, it looks worse than it is. You should see the other guy. After that I will go about the business of thriving. I don't need to fixate on the scar — I feel it every time I breathe. Every time my heart pumps blood.