Becky once said — or so I’ve been told — that my scars are a sign of my achievements. That was such a cutting thing to say.
You see: the barkeep in this little, lakeside village tells me that he serves the best drinks this side of the water. My landlady tells me that I’ll find no better room in the village, nor no better landlady — that comes, of course, at a price. The muleteer has the hardest working mules, the pie-maker the richest gravy, the puffiest crust. They want something, all of them. There is an uncontrolled need in them, a hunger, a greed.
You see: these people are like my scars. They remind me of a past I’m glad to have outgrown, of my “achievements”, which are only the outcomes of a dubious, immature intent.
And so instead of looking for my sister I drink cheap wine and remember what I once was — I imagine what I want to be. What would Becky think if I went searching for her at her doorstep? Would she talk to me? Should I leave her to find me instead? I remind myself that I am capable of acting, and sometimes we need to act even though the consequences are unclear.
Her family home is empty. Someone sits at the pier’s end, cigarette in hand, facing out towards the water. I don’t recognise her, but it’s been so long.
I haven’t come to prove anything. I hope she no longer wants me dead.
Becky doesn’t turn as I walk up behind her, but surely she can hear me. I say, through my mask, “Becky?”