This summer, pale as I am, I ventured to the beach on a day when my skin was less than prepared for that level of sun exposure. I burnt like toast; very red and shiny toast. Five months later the tan lines are still a strange shade of slightly less white than the rest of me. And I want them gone.
That same summer, my relationship experienced a similar flare before burning out. I’m a huge believer in metaphors and signs from the universe, and when I looked in the mirror tonight and realized my lines were finally fading, I took this to be akin to the healing process happening inside of me.
Normally when you think of relationships and tan lines, it’s the mark of a wedding band someone wishes they could be rid of. Similarly, I want my shoulders to look normal again, but I also like having a permanent reminder of the great memories we made on that trip. I wore my first bikini around my friends, IN PUBLIC! I baked a cake, drank too much and forgot my sunscreen more than someone with Irish colouring can afford to do. But I also spent several mornings waking up to the same face, walking and talking and drinking with him. And even though in our hearts we knew we were burning, the fun we were having made it all worth it.
So, as far as my tan lines go, I’m planning on watching them fade a little each day, and not fretting too much once they’re gone. Because memories aren’t ever just skin deep.
It’s September now, and gosh knows why but I still have them. Faded but still distinctively whiter, those little lines really have paralleled my emotional healing process. I wore the necklace he bought me to dinner last night. No lump in the throat, now bitterness. Just a necklace. And a pretty one at that.