"As Glorious Reminders"
[Tuesday, August 12, 2014]
A month had passed by since
the attack that changed Kenzie's life.
His wounds had mostly healed,
and the physical therapy helped too,
so the scars only twinged now and then.
He had a therapist, and Pretty Ears
was helping him to work through
all of the emotional aftermath.
Kenzie was twisting around,
trying to get a better look at
himself, when Ron noticed.
"What are you doing?" Ron said.
"I wanted to see how my scars
look now, but I can't," Kenzie said.
"No problem," Ron said. He went away,
then came back with two mirrors. "Here,
hold this one in front of you where you
can see it, and I'll move the one in back."
It took a minute to get the angles right,
and then Kenzie exclaimed, "Oh wow!
They don't look bad at all. I was worried
that they'd be awful, that I might have made
a mistake. They're pretty good, though."
Small nicks and cuts had been sprinkled
all over his body, with a few larger ones on
his chest that had needed careful bandaging,
and two big branching lines on his back
that Ben had carefully stitched up.
Now the scars stood out as
healthy, bright pink lines
against his pale skin.
"That's not a mistake.
Scars are beautiful when we
see them as glorious reminders
that we courageously survived,"
Ron replied. "Could I check
to see how they're healing?"
"Sure, go ahead," Kenzie said.
The Iron Horses had handled
him so much in the days after
the attack that his body was
completely comfortable with
them touching him now.
Ron spread his hands
over Kenzie's back and
gently manipulated the skin
to test how well it stretched.
"They're healing beautifully,"
he said. "You should be
proud of your new scars."
Kenzie gave him a shy grin.
"Yeah, it's seems like a shame
to cover them, but I really don't
have much to wear these days,
and all of it hides my scars."
"I know just the thing," Ron said.
"Come on, I'll take you over to
the Seneca One Stop. They
have workout clothes that
show off plenty of skin."
So Ron started his motorcycle
and Kenzie got on behind him,
wrapping his arms around Ron.
The Seneca One Stop was
a truck stop whose amenities
included separate filling stations
for cars and trucks, a souvenir shop,
a convenience store, a diner, a bunkroom,
some dotties, a sauna, and a laundromat.
The souvenir shop had Montana t-shirts
and trinkets, but it also had packages of
cheap workout clothes and a few racks
of nicer clothes for men and women.
"A lot of us like to show off our scars,
so the shop carries clothes to suit,"
Ron explained. "Here, try this on."
He handed Kenzie a racerback tank
that left his shoulderblades bare.
Kenzie held it against himself.
"Yeah, that'll probably work,"
he said. Then he checked
the package, which had tanks
in black, white, navy, and red.
"The red won't look good on me."
"So trade it to someone else,"
Ron said with a shrug. "Most of us
can't wear the navy, it clashes with
copper skin. Kyle's light enough
that he loves that red color."
"Okay, then," Kenzie said.
"What else is there?"
Ron showed him
open-sided tank tops
in blue, jade, and white.
Then came a set of
stringer hoodies, and
some cardigan vests
with open fronts.
Wistfully Kenzie eyed
the leather jackets.
"No," Ron said firmly.
"It's too soon for leather.
It would irritate your scars.
You need to wait at least
a year for them to mature."
"Aw," Kenzie said, but
he didn't argue with Ron.
"Trust me, you want to start
with buckskin anyway, not
cowhide," Ron said. "Also,
you'll be better off getting
someone to make it to fit,
not buying off the rack."
Kenzie let go of the jacket and
puzzled over something else.
"What the heck are these?"
Ron chuckled. "Those are
muscle boleros. They're
basically lingerie for men."
The odd garments only covered
the back of the shoulders, some
with short sleeves, others with long.
They would cling to every curve of
muscle like so much body paint.
"Not something I need right now,"
Kenzie said, moving on. "Oooh,
this is spectacular! What is it?"
The short black top hung open
down the front, its edges covered in
iridescent sequins and lines of beads.
"That's a bolero for women," Ron said.
"Fancy shawl dancers love those."
"Well, I'm trying it on," Kenzie said.
"I don't want to buy all menswear."
He ducked into the fitting room
and started putting on clothes.
It had a trifold mirror, though,
and before long Kenzie got
lost in exploring his scars.
Someone knocked on the door.
"Hey, cousin, are you done yet?
There's a line forming out here."
Before Kenzie could figure out
a polite reply, Ron said, "He is
admiring his new Sun Dance scars."
"So sorry!" the stranger called.
"You take your time, then. We
don't mind waiting for someone
who has looked at the sun."
Kenzie still hurried through
the workout clothes, which fit
loosely enough to be comfortable.
He came out wearing the bolero
over his blue jeans and nothing else.
A tall woman waiting in the line
gave him an appreciative whistle.
Kenzie blushed, but it was
a happy blush. "Okay, I'm
definitely splurging on this
as well as the workout stuff."
He hurried to change back
into his own clothes, then let
the next man into the fitting room.
"You look happy," Ron said, and
clapped him gently on the shoulder.
A week ago, he couldn't have done
that without making Kenzie wince.
"I am happy," Kenzie said, smiling.
"Sure, I had a rough time getting here,
but it was worth it -- and now I have
glorious reminders that I survived.
I wouldn't trade it for the world."
"Neither would I," Ron said.
* * *
“Scars are beautiful when we see them as glorious reminders that we courageously survived."
Kenzie's attack was on July 15, 2014. This is about a month after that, August 11.
In T-America, Seneca started out as an oil company run by white people. However, the tribal nations in general caught onto renewable energy much sooner than the mainstream did, which allowed them to corner the market in some areas. The Seneca-Cayuga tribe of Oklahoma, a branch of the Seneca people, staged a takeover of Seneca Companies and has been divesting most of the petroleum interests, replacing those with electrical vehicle services, environmental services, waste solutions, remediation and process controls.
Seneca Companies has nine corporate locations throughout the Midwest, Southern, and Mountain regions with a service area covering more than a dozen states. Their goods and services span a variety of infrastructure supports. In T-America, modern Seneca Companies fuel stations still offer gasoline, diesel, and kerosene -- but the tribe slaps a tax on all nonrenewable products to make them more expensive than renewable ones. (The tax goes to their environmental and remediation projects.) They put most of their emphasis on selling biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, along with charging stations for electric cars. They customarily include a convenience store, sometimes a restaurant or other attractions. Products favor healthier options than typical at a gas station, with a particular emphasis on tribally owned and operated ones, such as the Dézi cereals.
A truck stop provides fuel, rest (parking and/or indoor beds), food, and often other services to truckers and other drivers. They usually appear on or near a busy road, although the definition of "busy" depends on local context.
The Seneca One Stop is located on Highway 87. The convenience store, souvenir shop with fitting room, and diner fill the front of the main building. Trucker facilities such as the dottie showers, sauna, laundromat, and bunkroom are in the back wing. The posters in the window show the animals of the Seneca clans with their indigenous names. The visible canopy covers gas pumps for cars. Diesel pumps for trucks have their own canopy off to the left. Beyond that lie the electrical chargers, with separate facilities for cars and trucks.
Kenzie's racerback tank tops come in white, black, navy, and red. His open-sided tank tops come in blue, jade green, and white. The stringer hoodies are ash gray, red, black, and blue. His open-front cardigan vests are black, pine green, charcoal gray, and ash gray.
This is Kenzie's sequin-trimmed black bolero, front and back.
Muscle boleros are basically lingerie for men. But it's not always muscles that people want to show off with them.