About the scar on my foot
And jumping fences
I’m not lying when I say I give easily into peer pressure.
I have a scar on the top of my left foot from the night when — threshold-high on a quarter hit of acid — this hippie boy gentrifying Oakland with chickens in his backyard convinced me to jump the fence to China Beach.
“Come on, you’ll love it,” he said, lighting up a joint. “What are you scared of?”
Nothing, actually. I’m too desperate and up against the wall to be scared.
He stuck his foot between the chain links and hoisted his body over the top, jumping down on the other side. “See? It’s easy.”
I wanted to go over there. I wanted to listen to the ocean, I wanted to see the earth and sky merge into an abyss. I stuck my foot between the chain links and — awkwardly, almost catastrophically — hoisted my body over the top, scratching my foot on the metal and putting a hole in my favorite pair of leggings.
“I’m bleeding!’ I said, using my cell phone to light my wound.
“You’ll be okay.”
It had been worth it. Of course it had been worth it. We smoked the rest of the joint and spoke in low voices. We didn’t want to disturb the ocean. It lumbered and heaved like a dozing animal, completely black except for the moonlight glowing on the frothy crests of the waves. Most people would have taken the opportunity to make out, but he’d decided he was over me. I could tell by the detached way we had sex later that night.
I picked at the scab on my foot. I picked because I wanted it to scar. It scarred. And whenever I shower, I look at the scar and I think about the way the water sounded that night. How satisfying it is to pick at a scab, am I right?
Pick pick pick. So many scars. So many little dark pockmarks. Some with stories I recall vividly — others faded.
To be a wounded girl.
I don’t know. Sometimes I’m okay. Sometimes I’m not. Mostly I just sort of am. More and more I learn to be fine with that. Like the waves, I ebb and flow, I crash and thrash, and then recede hissing back into my depths. Or maybe — maybe sometimes I don’t even care.
What can I do though? Honestly? I’ve been seasick on my own turmoil, seized with a panic attack in the middle of a BART station during rush hour. The tunnel had tilted sideways and I wanted to run away.
I remember making out with my college boyfriend. I remember the Tungsten glow of his IKEA lamp turned strategically low, and we were stoned and listening to the Rolling Stone’s “Wild Horses” off of Sticky Fingers. His lips had been so full and so soft, and I’d never carefully made out like that before.
I bring this up because of the horses. Doesn’t every wounded girl love horses? They represent the chance to run away. The last time I tried to run away, I got as far as my rental car before I realized I’d left my jacket by the door. I should have just left it and asked to have it mailed back along with the rest of my stuff I’d end up leaving behind. The only reason I even had a reason to run is because I’ve been stuck in San Francisco longer than I mean to. I had plans to be in the middle of the desert by now. But this city, she whispered in my ear, “Come on — what are you so scared of?”
Nothing. I’m not scared of anything.
I’ve jumped the fence, San Francisco. I’ve jumped your bridges and watched your bays churn on angry days. Even though I hate you so much right now, I know that once I’m landlocked in the desert, I’ll remember how lucky I was to live so close to Land’s End. Once I’m far away and over all this, I’ll look at the scar you left me — the pockmarks of a hundred different lovers — and I’ll remember how lucky I am to have loved and lost so much over and over again. I am lucky to take these chances. I am lucky I yielded to the peer pressure, to the boy who wrote that he needed me in his life before he’d even met me. I told him he’d break my heart, and sure enough, he did.
But I’m happy I did it. I’m happy I jumped the fence. The next time I have sex, I’ll think about you. The next time I look at the scar on my foot, I’ll think about you and I’ll think about him, and I’ll think about all the boys whose hair I’ve wrapped my fingers in. I’ll think about my penchant for the pretty ones, and the way I’m always down to fuck on the first date — which is probably my first mistake but goddamn! if giving into the pain and the peer pressure ain’t the best mistake a wounded girl can ever make.