The Third Thing About Marnie

The third thing to remember about Marnie: She is a map of discovery.

When she was in seventh grade, Marnie discovered the four tiny lumps in the shape of an S, starting just below her right shoulder blade. It was after gym class. Forty girls huddled around lockers, towels wrapped tight as they made their way from the rows of metal cages down towards the shower room. Each of them walking past the teacher, clip board in hand, marking off the names as they went in, checking for wet hair, wet arms, wet legs as they went out.  Marnie took her turn, hurried up to the shower head and turned on the water. Making sure she was facing away from everyone, she quickly opened her towel and stepped forward. The cold water smashing into her chest and stomach, then equally as fast, she closed the towel and stepped back.

As she hurriedly wrapped up, tucking an edge tight under her right arm, she felt them. Four tiny bumps, each a distinct shape. She stopped and ran her fingers over them again. One was larger, more raised and oval shaped. A second felt near flat and she could not quite make out its edges. The third seemed perfectly round, a tiny bubble, like a blister. The fourth she could barely reach but it seemed tear drop shaped, wider near the top and decreasing as it descended, like it was pointing at something down her back.

In the mirror over the sink, she turned to get a clearer view. Putting her fingers over them, she could feel each one clearly, but removing her hand she could not see them in her reflection. Back at her locker she found her glasses and went again to see if she could see the marks. Still nothing. They were completely transparent, her skin appearing smooth to the sight.  But they were there. She could feel them.

Later than night at home in the dark of her room, she removed her nightshirt and again traced the marks.  Without the fear of becoming exposed to the  girls in gym class, she could reach them with ease. The fourth extended farther than she thought. The tail extending like a path. Instead of inspiring fear in her, these invisible things brought her new found strength. They made her unique in a way she enjoyed.

In her mind they became islands, real places to be explored.  They were her secrets. She knew they were there. They could be felt through her clothes and she often touched them during school or when she felt nervous or afraid.  They were there to comfort her, inspire her. She shared them with no one until the day someone else noticed them, until someone else looked at her with surprise as they discovered what could only be felt, never seen. Someone else who understood.


About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

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