It’s all signs and bars now. Don’t do this, don’t do that, and no, no, you have to do it this way, it’s for your own good. This world used to be full of men. Now we’re all women and children.
So I ran. I didn’t watch for ice and I didn’t care. I ran out into the street, ran where I wanted, and when I slipped and fell and woke up with blood on my face and hands, I felt alive.
In a few hours, the blood had stopped. In a few days, the wound had closed up. In a few weeks, all that was left was a small but highly noticeable hashmark cluster of scars that literally everyone would ask him about.
He resorted to more ridiculous stories every telling. First it was an accident. Then it was a fight. Then it was both, then neither. It turned into a life story that was too complicated to tell. Then, finally, it settled into a birthmark, and there was no story at all.
At first he didn’t know why he felt ashamed, until he told the truth to his wife and she replied that it seemed a remarkably childish thing for him to do. And he couldn’t help but agree, nodding and grinning sheepishly. His wife walked over and kissed him on the scars and gave him a hug and in that moment he felt alive, too.
She left to go to work a few minutes later and as he watched her drive away it occurred to him that there are far worse things than being told no.