A tiny, white, vulnerable, line of skin.
So slightly different from the rest, it seems insignificant.
But it holds a memory; a mixed memory.
When my left big toe is bare, that memory returns.
Ireland. The Shannon. The Boat.
Surrounded by family. We could see the riverbed if we leaned far enough over the smooth edge.
We trailed our fingers behind us through the water, making our own currents. Tiny fins cutting the blue, making ripples.
We were ready. Wetsuits. Goggles. Flippers. Wait. No flippers.
The middle of the lake beckoned us.
The key turned in the ignition and we were still.
We rose, turned to enter the cool water.
One, two, three, then my turn.
My senses reacted.
I struck out.
Ducked my head under.
Pure, blue, clear, bliss.
I climbed out glistening, shivering, numb.
I looked down.
My toe was cut, blood coursing.
It was cleaned, sterilised. Only then did we see the line.
Reddy-pink now. Not white yet.
A tiny, almost missable mark.
The Shannon has a rocky bed.
I wasn’t the only one.
We all have a signature mark somewhere.
A signature scar.