“I didn’t know you’d been through so much,” she said, shattered by all that she’d heard.
“It’s not something that I’m in the habit of telling everyone,” he replied, shades of discomfort coloring his voice.
“But why?” she asked, troubled, pulling his hands into her own, trying to protect him, years too late, from himself.
“I couldn’t deal with it; with any of it. It was too much for my fourteen year old self,” he replied. As he said it, the familiar sense of guilt arose, choking him as he realized that once again he had imposed his skeletons on another loved one.
“So you pray. You read philosophy. You don’t do … this” she retorted, her hands frantically trying to undo wounds that were over a decade old, in vain.
“Never mind. Please forget what I just said,” he said curtly, pulling his hands back.
He hadn’t asked for her sympathy, he’d only dared to hope that she would accept him as he was, scars and all. But she’d been like every other person; she didn’t understand that they were his battlewounds; proof that he’d fought and won so many times, even if the price had been high.