two separate entities, separated by your curled-up legs and the arms wrapping round, and the wall of air. you talk about the best places to get cupcakes and the cute things your mum used to say, and then suddenly the air is thin. A silence of recognition. And then talk gets deeper. You share your insecurities and she talks about her defences. You tell her you aren't who she thinks you are. You say she only sees what everyone else sees and you are driven and excellent in everything but beneath that is a dark pool. There's nothing pretty there. And she says no, you don't know her either, she's got more layers beneath than anyone has bothered to realise.
Suddenly it's a competition: who's worse off than the other, who got hurt deeper, got cut deeper. you talk of your scars, the red angry mouths on your skin that still whisper names. you talk of them, but they are hidden by the sleeves of your hoodie and your arms are wrapped tightly around your shins. she talks of her burns, ugly circles on her tummy, she talks about the birthmark she tried to remove with scissors.
but maybe slowly the walls will start to dissolve. Maybe you will unzip your hoodie to show her the marks on your arms. And then you will slip out of your dress to show her the marks on your waist, the marks that say it's not enough you're not enough there's more, there's more. And she will step out of her skirt to show you the birthmark on her thigh and she will lift her shirt to show you the cigarette burns that make a drunken trail down her belly to mark each spot a lovebite lay before.
and then there's no more separation, no more thin layer of air no more arms wrapped round no more fabric. you face each other and you both see yourselves: yourself in her, herself in you. the scars are silenced - no more mockery. the two of you stand a hair's breadth away from each other and you are complete. you have broken down all the walls and in all your vulnerability, in baring all your insecurities, you find comfort.