Books and bruises

          I was rereading a collection of short stories by William Trevor when I came across a passage in one of his stories that gave me pause. I remember the first time I read the story I had stopped at the same place, and something about it stayed with me, because ever since then, at odd moments here and now, that passage will flash through my mind and I can still feel the potency of it.

          An infidelity occurs in the story, and the passage takes place in the middle of a difficult conversation between the husband and wife. The wife has just confessed to her husband of the summer love affair she had with a man named Sebastian. She says to him:

I ended it. And besides, it wasn’t much.

          And then the passage:

A silence grew between them. ‘I love you,’ Sebastian had said no longer ago than last June, and in July and in August and September also. And she had loved him too. More than she loved anyone else, more than she loved her children: that thought had been there. Yet now she could say it wasn’t much.

          Few tasks are more tedious than explaining in detail why you love a piece of art, so I won’t — but I love this paragraph, and I love the last sentence of this paragraph. It is so well written, so plain, and so true. 
          Speaking of true, it is true that I am currently in possession of the largest bruise in the world. I have never had a bruise of such size or severity, and the sight of it fascinates me, and fills me with a sort of perverse pride whenever I look at it, which is often. The shape of the bruise is an almost perfect circle, and the colors! At the center is a pale cream yellow, which expands into a spattering of angry reddish purple, which then fades in some areas but darkens in others to a rich solid purple along the outer edges. Taken altogether, I would say that it is quite an impressive looking bruise, and if I were to be even more immodest, one worthy of fantastical comparisons to exploding supernovas.
          The other intriguing thing about my bruise is that I have no idea how I earned it. The bruise is located on my inner left thigh, a little above the side of the back of my left knee, and how exactly does one bump that very specific area of the leg hard enough to obtain a bruise of exploding supernova magnitude? I have no idea! All I know is that I woke up one morning, and there it was, staring at me. For now, I kind of like it, but I would like it more if it didn’t hurt me whenever I walked or crossed my legs. My apologies if the picture of the bruise is gross; I think it’s kinda cool.


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