Seeing the red, shiny slide that has sudden swerves makes my face beam immediately. The swings sway even though no children are on them. While my grandmother parks her car, I trace a big cloud’s curves with my finger on the window next to me. Soon, my grandma opens my car door, unbuckling my seatbelt before allowing me to run to the area with a glider that is surrounded by light-brown wood chips. I hear her close the door behind me, the sound “thud” echoing through my ears. With a clear destination in mind, I speed-walk past groups of friends until I reach the play structure with the cherry-red, glossy slide that looks as smooth as butter. Using my hands to give me momentum, I come rushing down the slide. My grandma is there to greet me as soon as I come down.
“Good job, Sophene!” she exclaims.
I giggle and continue to do so as I walk back up the stairs to the slide.
Wanting to experience the exhilaration once again, I push myself toward the bottom of the slide that, in my eyes, is more like a roller-coaster. But, this time around, I am not able to slow down. I fall face-forward onto the ground. My grandmother’s gentle smile that I thought was permanent is gone. She runs over to me as fast as she can and instantly puts pressure on my forehead. I want to cry, but I try to hold the tears back by biting my lip. I, however, am unsuccessful. Droplets of tears shoot down my burning cheeks like bullets. When my grandmother lifts her hand, I see blood. I squeal and sob harder when I hear my grandmother’s incredulous gasp.
“Grandma, what’s wrong? Am I okay?” I ask.
At this moment, all I want to hear is that everything is going to be alright, but my grandmother, still in shock, stays silent. She guides me to her car. We arrive home within a few minutes. My grandma gives me a cold glass of water and an ice pack that is in the shape of a heart. When the bleeding does not stop, we both know that I have to go to the hospital.
While I wait for a doctor’s assistance, I hold onto my grandmother’s hand as hard as I can. While the gash on my forehead stings, I hold onto my grandmother’s hand. While I get stitches, I hold onto my grandmother’s hand. Even though my hands are covered in dirt and are sweaty, my grandmother continues holding onto my hand, promising to never let go. I know that I am safe. I know that nothing bad can happen to me with my grandma by my side. I am loved and protected. That, unquestionably, is the best feeling in the world.
To this day, there remains the residue of that day at the park. It is healed and is now incredibly small. But when I look in the mirror, I remember my grandmother and my family. I remember how fortunate I am.
This scar is not really a scar. It is a token of love.
A group of boys in my second-grade class huddle near the school’s playground’s monkey bar like a pack of animals. One of the boys swings on the monkey bar before lifting his legs, letting his arms fall to his sides, and hanging upside down like a bat. His friends cheer him on and are very impressed. Hearing a few of them yell “wow,” I walk to them to find out what is happening.
When the boy is finished, I ask if I can have a turn to do the same. They all look at me with their noses scrunched, eyes squinting, and arms crossed.
“You think you can do what he just did?” asks one of the boys mockingly. He looks as if he is about to burst into laughter at any moment.
I nod my head and respond by saying “yes.”
They take a few steps back, and they all smirk at me.
You can do this, Sophene. You have to do this. Prove them wrong! What do they know? It’s easy and simple. All you have to do is hang from your feet for a few seconds.
I repeat the boy’s steps exactly. After swinging on the bar for a few moments, I position myself to hang upside down.
I did it!
But then, unexpectedly, my feet slide off the top of the bar. I use my left arm to prevent myself from hitting my head against the ground. When I get up, my mind is spinning, and my arm feels numb. When I move it, I cannot help but wince.
My dad and mom pick me up from the nurse’s office soon.
Later that day, I come home with a hot pink cast on my arm. With some water and snacks, carrots with hummus and a cheese stick, I walk upstairs to my room. After resting my head on my pillow, I look up at the ceiling. While I run my right hand over my cast, a big smile crosses my face. I am proud of myself.
This scar is not really a scar. It is a token of my confidence.
Sitting in front of the television and clicking aggressively on her video game controller, my sister exhales deeply in frustration.
“Why can’t I win?” she asks.
I go to the kitchen where my dad is making a cup of his favorite kind of tea. For as long as I can remember, I have been asking him why he chooses to drink earl-grey tea every morning. It seems boring and tasteless. I, on the other hand, have always loved the idea of having chai or pomegranate white tea. But today, I am intrigued by the calming, clean fragrance of black tea with a hint of orange: earl-grey tea.
When my dad leaves the room, I get on top of the kitchen counter to reach a cupboard. Usually, I would ask one of my parents to pour me a cup of tea. But today, I want to do it myself. I want to be self-serving.
I bring down the same kind of mug my dad is drinking from. After plopping the tea bag into my mug, I pick up the heavy, hot kettle.
I blow on the tea, hoping to cool it down. As I try to get comfortable in my seat, I lose my balance. My hand knocks the cup of tea over, the steaming liquid spilling all over my chest. It stings. It does not sting like a cut or scratch. It is a different kind of feeling, one I have never felt and never want to feel again.
The blemish from the boiling beverage remnants on my chest. No one has ever noticed it before. No one has ever asked about it before. It is invisible to everyone except me. I see it every day. I see it when I wear a bathing suit. I see it when I wear tank tops. I see it when I wear dresses. But I am not sad. I am not angry at myself.
This scar is not really a scar. It is a token of my independence.
For the last few days, my sister and I have been enjoying our time outside in the beautiful sunny-cloudy weather. We kick a big, rainbow-colored ball back and forth to each other. Hours feel like minutes. Before we know it, it is already dinner time. Our grandma calls us from our house’s front door.
“We’ll come in soon,” my sister announces.
After kicking the ball in the opposite direction of her, my sister sprints after the ball. I spend a few moments admiring the slight breeze. The swaying of the trees and the elegant movements of the flowers are captivating. Suddenly, I hear my sister scream.
“Help, Sophene. I fell!” she whines.
“I’m coming,” I yell back.
At this moment, all I care about is reaching my sister. My feet glide on the concrete and I move as fast as I can. Only a few steps away from my sister, my right foot gets caught in a crack in the concrete. Blood starts running down my foot. Trying to make the pain subside, I cover the wound with my hand. But nothing changes.
There is still a tiny scar in the shape of a diamond on my right foot.
This scar is not really a scar. It is a token of the love I have for my sister.
Sophene Avedissian is the author of the book, Stand Tall, which she published at the age of twelve. She is a Los Angeles Times High School Insider, an editor for Polyphony Lit, a writer for The Teen Magazine, a contributor at GEN-ZiNE, and critical reading manager at Auteur Magazine. Her work is published or forthcoming in Teen Ink, Six Feet of Separation, The Blue Marble Review, Maudlin House, Literary Yard, Best of SNO, and Shameless Magazine. Writing is her way of reaching as many people as possible.