blue. it was all blue as far as the eye could see: her fingernails, the bruises on his knuckles, the sky, the veins that ran underneath the scars on her left wrist — that she had tried to cover with a tattoo and failed —, the water, his eyes. his eyes were lapis lazuli-colored, and they were striking beyond belief. it was nearly impossible not to become mesmerized by them, and nearly impossible not to lose yourself in them; and sometimes she wanted to, just to see what was on the other side. maybe eternal peace? “he did it again, didn’t he?” he asks the question she’s been hoping, for the past hour, that he wouldn’t. she sucks in the winter air through gritted teeth, “i prefer we don’t talk about it.”he turns his body to face her, “so when are we going to talk about it?” she sighs and replies with an “i don’t know” because she really doesn’t know. he reaches for her face with his left hand and presses it against her cold cheek. his thumb gently touches her busted-up lip and unintentionally, pain shoots through her face, down her neck, and into her chest. she flinches. he immediately recoils, “shit. i’m so sorry.” she shakes her head, “it’s okay,” and then, instinctively, goes to feel that same spot with her own finger. she avoids looking at him. she’s embarrassed; she thought the physical pain of her busted lip had gone away and all that was left was a physical reminder of what had been done to her. she isn’t a monster so why is she treated like one? she can faintly make out that Simon has a concerned expression on his face, the same one he always has when it comes to her and her well-being. she places her hand over his and lets it rest there for several minutes as they sit on the bench in silence. her head is throbbing and suddenly the subtle pain that lingers throughout her body is amplified as if she has a thousand volts of electricity being pumped into her. it’s much more painful than when she’s being hit, punched, or beaten by the same person who gave her the busted-up lip in the first place. and then, just as quickly as it started, the pain disappears and she’s left to deal with the aftermath.“i really want to go swimming”, she says, seriously. simon laughs, “that water is freezing.”“yes, but haven’t we done much wilder things before?” he chuckles softly, “like that one time we jumped from the roof of my building onto the roof next door? yes, i remember. but, i don’t think us freezing to death is on my list of wild things to do just yet.” she sinks into the bench, “i just like the idea of jumping into the water and for a moment, feeling like i’m clean — like i’m pure again. like all these bruises and scars don’t exist and i’m just flesh.” “what if you’re never clean again? do you think you could live with all these scars for the rest of your life?” he asks, but it’s a question that he doesn’t really want to know the answer to. “i mean, i kind of have to,” she says and his body relaxes. “they make me into who i am. but, with that being said, you can’t deny that being reborn and starting all over isn’t appealing. there’s something about ripping off this old skin, metaphorically-speaking of course,” she grins to herself, “and just starting fresh.” she looks out towards the water, admiring how it exists so peacefully. as each second passes, she begins to feel a sense of calm wash over her. “so why don’t you?” it’s such a simple question, really — yet she takes a few moments to think about it. then, she looks at him, the boy whose eyes glisten under the moonlight, and smiles (as if it’s the easiest thing in the world), “yeah, why don’t i?”.