I have a giant scar on my left shoulder. It is about three centimetres long and one inch thick, for now. Sometimes I have bad dreams that I will wake up one morning and find scar where my arm once was.
I see other things in these dreams too, I remember asking my mother as a child if I was doomed because I could see somethings before they happened. This was around the time when Charmed was my portion and the word premonition had just been added to my vocabulary. Phoebe, the quirkiest of the sisters possessed the gift of forewarnings and so I thought I would become a witch too. I thought I had this patent power within me that could not be tamed and was waiting for the opportune time to get out and wreak havoc on the world. So whenever I had these visions, I would just brace myself and hope to God I do not teleport into a new century, as I had seen the three witchy sisters do in charmed, leaving my family behind.
I still have those visions, only now they go by dejavu. Like this morning, I could have sworn Carol startled me and I dropped my cup of tea in the kitchen before. This was not the first time this was happening to me. It spilled all over my grey dress and left my right hand sticky. The one day I decide to sweeten my tea with a little sugar is the day tea splashes all over my hand, dress and legs! Thank god for small mercies, that I like my tea lukewarm, wouldn’t be fun trying to live down an imposing keloid on my arm. Dear aunty, no amount of sweaters could cover this one up. Not in tropical Africa at least.
10 years ago, when this giant scar on my back was about the size of a button, I had this one aunt who adamantly refused to get used to it. “Do you have a ka sweater just to cover it up?” she always asked. I guess seeing it always made her feel some type of way. I think her cacophobia came alive in this scar, which is funny because 10 years ago, I only acknowledged its presence when I hit myself on a wall, got shoved, or the one day in dorm when I jumped off my bed so hurriedly that my left shoulder rubbed the metal on the third bed of the triple decker….. I am yet to experience child birth, but that pain was insurmountable!
She didn’t like to see it then, she should see it now. It is like I have a millipede permanently stuck to my shoulder. A beastly mark that has identified me for some sacrificial practice. It is black, like coal, stretched thin almost like you could see what is inside of it if you looked closely, which most people do not, because well, it is not cute. It has distributaries too, rivers creating their own story from the mighty river Nile, giving them life as it manifests its own. It is grand. It is a grand scar.
It is a reminder of all the things I fear. Try as I might, I cannot run away from them. I can only face them and make a bargain. My mistakes too, no amount of regret could undo them. Once it was shaped like a cotton ball dipped in tar, now it is a monstrosity that I cannot bare to look at myself. So I take the burden off my aunt and the people who sit behind me in church and in taxis by shopping more prudently, collecting a wide array of sweaters and throw-ons. But this scar on my body unlike wine, it does not get better with time. It spreads, wanders, and conspicuously rests on my left shoulder.
A keloid is an overzealous scar that that does not stop growing long after the wound is healed. More common in African people, keloidal scars are benign and their chance of recurrence is more than 50% after removal surgery. They are most likely to grow on backs, shoulders, central chest and ears, but can develop anywhere on the body, some have grown from pimples!