A different game of writing prompts: Invisible Pain

The scars. I lay here in bed, at once trying not to see and trying to make out every detail.

Wondering what other people can see.  Wondering what they think.

It has been over a decade since any have been added.

Who was that young girl?

And why did she first decide to cut into her skin?

They all said: She does it for attention.

In high school anything anyone does is for attention.

Now, aged, aging, sight changes and blurs without these lenses:

The other night, a former lover became upset with me for suggesting that maybe she was dependent on the pain medication she has been taking for months now. I was not speaking to her pain—I could hear its presence in her voice through the phone and over one-thousand miles. I was responding to a conversation in which she confided in me that she was afraid to have the pain relieved. She had lived with it so long, taken the meds so long, that her identity became one with it.

Who would she be without pain?

Though I tried to explain that I believed she was still in pain, tried to explain that pain and dependence could coexist, she became desperate to illustrate her pain to me. To prove it. She wished pain were visible, she wished there were colors that corresponded to the number and face charts the doctors used.

What color is beyond 10?

I felt: Yes, I wish pain were visible. I wish you could have seen the collage that comes after 10 each time you dismissed my emotions and demanded that I stop crying. Every time you left me alone in the depths of it, like the pain was my choice and you were opting out.

I thought: Cutting is this desire to be understood in action. Proactive. An attempt to prove pain. Redirecting the wound to what can be touched, to what can heal.

They all said: She does it for attention.

I say: Attend. Tend    her wound.


Who would any of us be without pain?


Prompt: Write an American Sentence.  Choose another group member’s American sentence.  Use this sentence to begin your piece.  Leave it through the revision process.  And then delete it.

The beautiful sentence I chose: “In the dim dusk I could still see it there, the emblem of my mistake.”