Battle Scar

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It had been almost three months since Shawn had told me his big secret. I was sure that he had no regrets about telling me, in fact, our relationship had actually strengthened as a result. I hadn't been mad or disgusted like he expected I would be. Instead, I had been sympathetic and understanding. My reaction to his story was the exact opposite of what he had anticipated.

The two of us were currently snuggled up on his couch, watching Netflix. Shawn had discovered this new show called The 100. He believed it was the best show on the air, but I showed no interest in it. I wasn't really into the post-apocalyptic thing.

Whenever we watched The 100, Shawn kept his eyes glued to the TV. He become completely immersed in the characters and plot line of the show, unaware of anything else happening around him. Even if I were to try to talk to him, I would only be a faint buzzing within his consciousness.

Shawn's lanky body was spread across the couch, his feet dangling over the edge and his head resting on my lap. He was lying on his left side, so his right cheek was facing up at me. I gazed down at it, examining the small scar that presided there.

I had noticed it when I first met him. It was small, right below his eye. For the longest time, I had never asked about it. It didn't seem to matter. It was an insignificant blemish. Nothing but a tiny imperfection, like a scar one would get from cutting themselves while shaving. But little had I known that every time Shawn looked at himself in the mirror, it burned his eyes. It was a constant reminder of the struggle and pain that he had encountered. It was a battle scar.

Ian Warburton was Shawn's best friend. They had been friends since they were eight years old. It was one of those friendships where the two became so close that they didn't consider each other friend, but brothers. Shawn and Ian soon met Brian and Lyall. The four of them were best friends up through middle school, and eventually, after they got through the "girls have cooties" stage, the circle of friendship was expanded to Laur and Mel.

The summer before freshman year, Ian and Laur started dating. It was an interesting couple, given their differing personalities. Laur was confident and bold, while Ian was quiet and more reserved.

"They were a weird couple," Shawn had chuckled to himself as he described it to me. "It never seemed like they did coupley stuff, you know? I think I saw them hold hands like three times the whole duration of their relationship."

Shawn explained to me that everyone believed Ian was the cause of the awkward relationship. He was a sweet boy, but very shy. Although she was his girlfriend, Laur intimidating him. Hearing that didn't surprise me, given how brash and forward she could be. But Ian had always loved Laur. Ever since they were young, he had wanted to befriend her. Even back in the days where Shawn and the other boys threw wood chips at the girls on the playground, Ian wanted to talk to Laur. Given his shyness, he wouldn't, and it took him a few years to finally tell her how he felt about her. Once they started dating, Ian felt like he was on the top of the world.

"He was so much happier," Shawn told me, "Just like the way I felt when I met you."

Laur, on the other hand, was not as dedicated to the relationship. After her and Ian dated for a few months, she began to lose interest. But he was so sweet to her, she refused to break it off. When her friends confronted her privately about wanting to end the relationship, she denied the thought of breaking up from ever crossing her mind.

"I remember Mel sat her down," Shawn recalled, "And she told Laur that Ian was a good soul, and if Laur wasn't into the relationship anymore then she needed to end it. Ian deserved that, at least. It wasn't fair for her to be toying with his emotions if she didn't really love him." Ian had been naive and oblivious to the off screen drama that surrounded his relationship with Laur. He was blindly in love with her.

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