She was never big on beauty marks.
Born with a large, round, dark nevus covering the base of her right thumb (the offender having been xrayed away before she could walk), she was subliminally repelled by them. Add her mother’s life curtailing melanoma to that mix, and you had a recipe for acute trauma at sight.
His was flesh colored until, the blood running during elevated pressure or arousal, it morphed black.
They’d not yet met. He’d found her on LinkedIn, the safe social space for working professionals. Rapid fire texting between two profile pics led to two hour plus phone convos, each voice pouring forth an obvious need to feed from the other’s fierce intellectual curiosity and creative drive. Apparently they had everything practical in common, as well; he played hockey, she played soccer and, furthermore, each had a passion for aquatic life. His, deep sea and hers, tropical fish; no matter. They’d work it out.
Box checking was the deceit.
She listened, pacing the house with her cell phone. He talked. He talked far more than most men she’d known. Her preference for the silent type taking a backseat to recognition, this was a man after her own heart.
And, he was polite, empathetic, saying Thank you and How’s your day? and, promising to review selected videos or articles on every topic which she shared of interest to them both.
Finally, after adapting to a lifetime of social expectation, she’d found her kin. That last, neglected hormone wide awake, she was back in college, throbbing with thought and theory deep into the night. There was reason to thrive alive, again.
It was during one of his newsbyte reels that she spied it.
Just below the right cheekbone, raised, inherited, a proud moniker. Infused with color in the midst of play, for her a persisting distraction.
Six weeks had already transpired. Pandemic induced isolation protracting the phone phase, now he insisted he was “interested” and also “hurt.” Why had she not yet come to any of his games?
He arrived at her place, for a light supper and live conversation. Big, sweaty, and exhausted; the schedule’d been relentless, he said. Assuredly, she understood. The mood mole was pale, smaller in person, and asleep. Should she make a move?
After about an hour of platonic exchange off he went, again thanking her for an enjoyable time and good food.
The next day: silence.
She fretted. Was the absence of under eye concealer and lipstick to blame? Had she fussed, over the meal? Expectations, not realized?
Vowing to rectify all these perceived disappointments, and tenacious to the bone, she confronted the situation. His response was startling. They’d grown close, to be sure, but were just “too different”. She should…[ insert: a litany of instructions from a seasoned mansplainer, backpedaling furiously, evoking the image of ET’s bicycle ascending the starry night. ] Should she scream, or call his mother?
Instead: Hair. Makeup. Smart outfit, dress boots. She showed up. At half time, they spoke. His smile was bright. His pupils were dilated. The mood mole was black as pitch.
Why the small talk now, when he hated it, he’d said? Why the suggestion that she paint the town? And, two days later, why the same sing-song about just who was so different from whom? Now, skipping texts, or reading only the first line, missing the point…
Nothing was computing. None of it.
He could sing or say what he will, protestations be damned. She was calling out third party interference. Time to fire the self-appointed director of this production.
Nobody would beat the power of blood flow.
There was beauty in that mark.
Copyright 8/1/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the sole author of this piece, whose name appears above this line. Plagiarists be condemned to the fiery pit.