Crying for attention (silently)

The scars on her arms were perturbing.

He felt the need to talk to her, to ask after her and express concern, even though they were mere strangers.

He had strolled into the theater, an hour late for his lecture. Feeling kind of badass for the partial truancy (which happened more because he didn’t keep track of time, not because he intended to be late). He was floating along, somewhat dreamily, until an intricate pattern on a girl’s arm caught his eyes.

It was a deliberate chain of lines, ridges formed by hardened scars. A neat line of bumps, eerily tidy. Deceptive order created by entropy. Systematic chaos. He tried not to look but his eyes sneaked back.

The girl was gently stroking her left arm this time. There were two deep and painful-looking, partially-formed scars. Each was a little crater of glistening red, laced with white pus. They were short, about the length of a thumb nail but seemed painfully deep.

For the remaining lecture, he felt nauseous. The images recurred jarringly in his mind.

He thought of expressing concern for the girl – after all, they’re both fellow human beings – but didn’t know how. Moreover, he felt scared, confronted by thoughts that are only vague but emotions, intense.

Then, he decided not to talk, feeling cowardly for running away from this girl’s cry. The silent cry for attention was ironically blatant. She didn’t even wear long-sleeves to cover the scarred arms. The cry was filled with primordial angst, with suppressed need, with existential ennui.

He wished he was experienced enough to know how to deal with her, to do something to alleviate her pain.

But wishes, as everyone knows, are merely wishes.