The scars on my feet

“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

I was only two

I don’t remember much


An excited pot of water on the stove

Wafts of steam frolicking in the quiet kitchen


The lazy afternoon silence

Punctuated by the gurgling bubbles


There was a splash followed by a shrill shriek

My mother found me on the kitchen floor


The searing water had grasped and guzzled my 2-year-old legs

They peeled and unpeeled for months


Left with withered and thick skin

But my feet still could take me places


Guilt devoured my mother’s waking hours

She displayed my feet to countless scrutinizing doctors


“Why does she take me to the doctor?”

“I am not sick”, my young mind wondered


To my eyes, normal feet were wane and crumbled

They were a part of me and I was them


Waiting for the plastic surgeon

A lady asked the teenager me, “Why are you here?”


“It won’t matter when you grow up and become someone great”

“They will know you as Miss doctor, teacher, or engineer, not your feet”, she welled up


I wanted the painful probings to stop

“No more needles or lasers, please”, I asked my mother


I didn’t blame or hate her

I didn’t hate my feet


I don’t pity my scars

They are not ugly nor beautiful


They are just my feet

Do you have any scars?


19 Responses

    1. Thanks xx I really don’t remember any pain though. I hope you didn’t experience a lot of pain while going through surgeries either.

  1. These traumatic experiences usually bother the parents more than the child. My own daughter was horribly burned on her chest years ago by dumping Ramen fresh from the stove on herself, and they had to take a skin graft from her leg to repair the damage. She asks questions sometimes about it, but other than that is unbothered by it. The scar is fading nicely for the most part.

    I on the other hand constantly have nightmares about that day, and still feel guilty, even though I was only feet away and actively watching her when it happened. I just didn’t know she could reach the counter, but it only took one errant finger peeking over the plastic bowl to topple it.

    1. Oh I’m so sorry for what happened to you daughter. I hope the scar fades entirely in time. You’re right, I guess my accident ended up scarring my mother more than me.

      Thank you for sharing your story x

  2. I’m sorry you went through that. 😕

    A dear friend of mine experienced a similar trauma as a child and has a scar on her cheek. Her mother’s guilt hasn’t stopped either.

    I have plenty of scars I wish I could undo. They represent the version of myself I hated once and their constant reminder sometimes brings a (thankfully) much smaller feeling of the same. Many have faded over time but they won’t disappear. Sometimes they’re a reminder of how far I’ve come. One day I hope that’s all they are but it’s a journey.

    1. So sorry about your friend’s accident.

      I hope you make peace with your scars as well. They are just a different form of skin. I guess I was never ashamed of mine because I’ve always seen my feet that way. They have never been any different. So to me, that’s my normal.

  3. I have a scar on my leg. When I was five years old, I jumped out of a tree and landed on an opened coffee can. After my leg healed, I was back up in the tree; there were caterpillars to catch, you know.

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