2,5 min to read

I let go into a cinema armchair, whispering of relief. After such a day, relaxing in a Multiplex wasn’t a common option. Mobile off, focusing on a psycho-thriller, maxi bag of popcorn and an indulging company.

I looked at her while taking a mouthful of popcorn. Standing, in front of her seat, she was taking her jacket off. She hung it on the rest between our seats, pulled up the shirt sleeve to her forearm and sat down. When she turned to look at me, reaching her hand to the food bag, she had a smiling face. I am afraid of my look.

I couldn’t take my eyes off her          , although I felt I had an embarrassed gaze. My lips stretched in a sneer, and a curious look, and too close to each other eyes.

I don’t know how, but I managed to recover and get back to normal. I felt my face muscles relax and start chewing again, while I was trying to get distracted by the commercials.

René, her legs crossed, was leafing through the cinema magazine, with the interviews and film previews. Quick movements, focused and meaningful glances showing interest or disgust, depending on the subject.

I didn’t realize she was taking advantage until she got closer and showed me the article about a love story, which had already proved successful the previous month.

«She managed to drag you so far, didn’t she? Alessandra, right?» she asked, ironic.

«Caterina. Yes, I finally gave in.»

«Then she is the perfect match!» she said in a real enthusiastic, hopeful tone.

«Are you trying to settle me down?» I was joking, but also fearing a reaction which I couldn’t have faced.

«Jonathan, after some age vagabonds get bizarre.» her serious voice couldn’t stop me from sneering a smile.

«Listen, I am just 38 and a man. Two bonuses which give me full margin, before becoming suspicious.»

The wide smile in return caught me for seconds.

«It must be great to be a male.» this statement turned her look into a melancholic glow, which disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Embarrassed, I looked down, where her hand was getting to the popcorn bag.

«What happened?»

The scar was running across her forearm, along a diagonal, from the inner elbow to the wrist. A white shapeless stripe healed without stitches.

«A plate broke.» a fleeting answer, as her hand retreated and her look turned to the screen and the people around.

Again, I had come across a hot subject, something to find any excuse for changing topic.

As I was looking at her in dismay, I noticed other signs. More white scars, smaller and of different shapes, on her neck and other areas on her arms.

How could a barely 26-year-old woman have so many marks on her? Prints which I couldn’t not tell from torture. What for a beast could have done this to her?

In the darkness of the room, covered by the sound of the starting music I crumbled the popcorns in my hand.