My insides clench as he removes his shirt, but I make sure the open concern on my face doesn't falter. My eyes move immediately to the lacework of white lines decorating the left side of his torso. I gaze at the newly-pale-white lines and the barely visible lines I know that are underneath.
I rise from my position on his bed and cross the room to where he stands, stopping when I am barely an inch from him. I see the pain decorating his features and the hope glistening in his eyes. Once I stop, I tear my eyes from his and focus intently on the patchwork of lines. I can see all the lines even more clearly now.
I reach my hand out and brush my first two fingers lightly over the longest and most prominent line. I move my fingers slowly over every one I see, taking my time in outlining them. When I finish, I tilt my head closer. I rest my lips against his skin with the careful concern of a mother, the natural grace of a swan, and the deliberate focus of a surgeon. I move from line to line, kissing everyone I can see. My eyes are closed as I imagine the self imposed cause of each line.
I kissed the last of his scars and slowly straightened, finally returning my gaze to his. I saw tears streaming down his cheeks. He knew the purpose behind my actions. He knew that every kiss symbolized an apology for the cause and a forgiveness of the action.