I call them fragments, the parts of me that were too exhausted to stay. He calls them flecks because I am a flake. I wish I was a flake. It sounds prettier than being a fragment. Flakes are like snow. Soothing, falling from the sky on the tip of his tongue that melt and disappear. Fragments are archeological findings of a scarred past we really should not remember.
I want to remember my scars. So I am a fragment.
I draw on my legs. When my skin dries out, I use my index finger as a pencil and draw what the clouds are trying to tell me. Sometimes it’s a dog, and sometimes it’s a bear and sometimes it is his face looking at me disapprovingly.
That is when I stop drawing.
At night, when the rain falls, I sit at the bay window and pretend to write stories whilst he pretends to sleep. “What are you writing?” he will ask in his asleep voice. “A funny story.” It is not. It is a pale, scary story, and it looks like my skin. “Were you dreaming?” I will ask him and he will always nod and say, “Yes, a good dream.” No, it is not. I have seen how his back tenses and sweats in the moonlight when he sleeps.
I worry when I read scientific facts, so he hides the newspapers from me when he is done. I always find them and spread them out on the table till every inch of it is covered. Today's newspaper said that the average human sheds eighteen kilograms of skin throughout their lifespan.
I am not sure about how I feel about the fragments dropping in trains and cars and planes and traveling to places I shall never go.
“Do you think you’ll ever go to Japan?”
“Doubt it. I shall never have the money.”
“I bet parts of you have already got there.”
“You and your fragments.”
“Me and my fragments. We’re both so uncomfortable.”
“My fragments and I. And it’s not you, or them that are uncomfortable.”
“What is it, then?”
“It's just this skin you are in.”