Every time I saw my reflection anywhere, I saw the scars. They reminded me of the day I almost lost everything. Even though I managed to keep my friends alive and even stay alive myself, I feel like I lost so much. While in my own culture I would be a pariah because of these scars, now I live in a culture that says the scars I carry prove that I have strength and I have brought honor to my family. While I knew this to be true, I still could not see the beauty hiding behind my mangled face.

Now don’t get me wrong, I was glad to have those scars. For if I hadn’t stepped between my beloved and that blade that made these ugly scars, he would not be alive. I just could not fathom how he could ever look at my face and see the person he used to see. If I couldn’t see past the scars, how could he? I couldn’t not see him but at the same time I didn’t want him to see me like this, so I only went to see him at night when he was sleeping. I hadn’t even seen any of my friends since the battle, too afraid of seeing the pity on their faces.

However, being a social person, this self-inflicted isolation has started to take it’s toll on me. I had become careless when I left my room. One time one of my friends saw me creep out of my room late in the evening and tried to engage me in a conversation. I answered with some grunts and fled as soon as I could. I could see the confusion on my friend’s face and I know my isolation was as painful to him as it was to me.

This was also the night I was caught by my beloved when I sneaked into his room.

“Well look who finally shows their face” I froze when I heard his voice from the bed. Luckily I had not stepped into the light just yet, so I chose to stay in the shadows so he would not see my face.

“Hey, why are you so far. Come here” he whispered.

“I’d rather stay here”

“Are yo so afraid of me?” he asked voice full of sorrow. And before I could say anything he continued. “I do not blame you, I would be afraid of me too if I were you. I understand if you can never forgive me”

“NO!” I panicked. I saw his face fall.

“I mean…I’m not afraid of you”

“Then why are you all the way over there and not next to me”

I mumbled my answer, hoping he would not hear me.

“Could you repeat that?”

“I just…I don’t want you to see my face and see what I see every time I see my reflection somewhere. I want your last sight of me to be the way I was before”

“What do you mean?” he asked, confused.

“The…The scars are so ugly. I don’t want you to see me and not like what you see anymore” I was holding back the tears now.

“I could never not like what I see when I look at you. I love you”

“How could you look at me and see past the scars when even I can’t see past them?”

“Because I’ve never seen your face when I look at you. I see your heart, your beautiful soul. Why would that suddenly change?”

“Because I’m ugly!” I shout and now the floodgates open and I’m crying hysterically.

“Come here. Let me comfort you” he says, his arms open wide.

“Just promise my you won’t look at my face” I get out amidst the sobs.

“I promise”

I walk towards his bed, hands covering my face, afraid he might break his promise. When I finally get to the bed, I lay down next to him and cry into his chest. He whispers sweet nothings into my ear but does not pressure me into showing my face. He knows it would only make me clam up even harder. It is that, more than anything else, that makes me lift my face for him to see after my sobs have subsided. He looks at my face like he always has, face full of adoration, maybe even more than before. After he’s taken it all in, he speaks.

“You know these scars will fade, they won’t be this visible forever. And they make you even more beautiful than you were”

“How?” I ask, not believing what he’s saying.

“Because they are a sign of how much you love me. There is no more visible sign than that. You were ready to sacrifice your life so I and my nephews could live. I am honored that a creature as pure as you could love someone like me that much. After how I treated you just hours before you still stepped in front of a blade for me. I couldn’t ask for more. So if you still love me, I would love for you to stay here and have you by my side for the rest of our lives. But only if you want to stay”

“Of course I wanna stay! I love you you silly man”