He has a scar above his right lip.
“Someone kissed me too hard,” he says, then smiles, and I watch the scar stretch across his bone-white teeth. This is on our first date. On the second he leans toward me as I sit gripping the steering wheel of my mom’s car, and whispers in my ear, “Actually, that was a lie, my older brother stabbed me with a fork when I was a baby, said he wanted to see what it was like to make me bleed.” His breath is hot and smells like onions. He settles back into the green leather of the passenger seat and crosses his hands behind his head. I laugh, but the wind whipping through the open window swallows the sound. The third, and he caresses the small white mark; over and over his fingers pass across it. I reach out my hand to touch it too, and he smiles and says, “Yes, everyone does.” It looks like the bite of a fork, the tiny white dots evenly spaced, exactly four.
“Where is it now?” I ask.
“The fork.” I want to see it, what caused his scar, to hold it in my hands and caress it, to run the tips of its prongs across my tongue.
“Hell, I don’t know,” he says, “in my parents’ house somewhere, I guess.”
The fourth and we are sitting in his apartment, eating Thai food on the floor.
“It’s only a scar,” he says, and I look down, concentrate on my food. I did not know I had been staring until he caught me.
“I had a dream that I was your brother,” I say, pushing the food around with my fork, “that I was the one who stabbed you, who wanted to know what it was like to make you bleed.”
He puts his fork down and pushes his food aside.
“You’re crazy,” he says, but he’s smiling and the dots are coming closer. The scar is almost on top of me. I watch his lips move as he says, “That’s why I love you,” then kisses me.
But it isn’t until the fifth date that we make love.
“There’s one more story,” he says as he takes off his clothes. “The best for last, you know.” He turns toward me, naked and my eyes widen. There are scars exactly like the one on his upper lip all over his body. Tiny white dots, evenly spaced, exactly four. He smiles, and I press my knees to my chest.