Scars and Stories

© 2015 Caroline Raggett

His face bore the scars of many a story.

It had long since lost its youthful look but retained glimpses of its younger glory. His eyes still contained all his character, gleaming when amused, cold when upset and shining with love when he was the doting grandfather. You could not describe his face without looking to his ears, which seemed to be the heirloom of his family. He had inherited the features from his father, and had indeed passed this onto his own son. His ears were large in every way – long and thick, heavy-looking ear lobes and large folds surrounded by deep-set wrinkles in front and in back. The slight hairiness gave an indicator of his age – that is, if you were to ignore all else.

His face bore the scars of many a story but none as damaging as the car accident in 1976, almost 40 years earlier. It was often recalled that the nurses attending him in the hospital refused to give him a mirror. His face met the full force of the windscreen, his leg crushed and almost severed by the cab of the lorry. His favourite way of bothering the children would be to show the large thick scar running around his leg from knee to ankle, almost 3 inches wide and still discoloured from the near amputation. If you looked closely you could see the scarring at his belly where the bone had been chiselled to rebuild the crushed limb.

The scars were much less visible now. It took some time to describe where they were to his youngest daughter, and longer for her to locate them in the now bald patch. Fine, silvery lines barely visible and many were hidden with the aged folds in his skin. One scar ran down the fold running from the crease at the right nostril, down the curve of his cheek before resting level with his lips. This was yet another story. Another scar from his short battle against skin cancer. The youngest again recalled seeing him lying on the sofa at home, his entire head wrapped, and him wearing an eye patch. The sight of him mummified in this way scared the child, who didn’t fully understand why he needed the flesh coloured wrap anyway.

His face bore the scars of many a story. But his large ears with thick folds and hair; his large ears he inherited from his father and gave to his son – they remained still and intact. Unscarred and untouched, as perfect as they were at birth.