Brown Under the Apple Skin

Steven Patchett

I bruise too easily.

The Teacher’s glance flicks from arms to legs, calculating, judging. Troubled looks that end in cotton-wool interrogations in shaded wood-lined rooms with pointed, leading questions.

How are things at home after your mum left?

Is your dad drinking again, like last time?

I have to wipe away my tears, the memory’s too painful.

They whisper about Social Services, marking my file with words like ‘unsettled’ and ‘concerned’, without explaining what they mean.

I should tell them about the weekend adventures, stomping out our mark on the wilderness, out of breath and joyous at the top of the hill, tumbling over and picking ourselves up. The front room pillow forts, Hammer horror nights. Seeing Dad’s light without her shadow.

But I don’t know if I should.

Sometimes he hugs me too tight, I say and watch them write it down.

I’ve always bruised too easily.

About the author: Steven Patchett is an Engineer, Father and Writer in the North East of England. His works have been published in Ellipsis Zine, Lunate Fiction and Bear Creek Gazette. He can be found on Twitter, being encouraging. @StevenPatchett7