The Scar by Esther Jou, Age 16 "Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to Lindsey, happy birthday to you!! Yeah~" In a big office building, a group of interior designers are celebrating Lindsey's 26th birthday. Their department is located on the 10th floor, but even the administration department on the 14th floor hears the joyful racket. The supervisors can't help smiling. Usually they’d send someone down there to tell everyone to keep their volume down, but not today, because it's Lindsey's special day. Linsey Grover is the most well loved person in the company. It's not because of her slim, perfect body, angel face, and long, thick curly blonde hair (well, that's one of the reasons, of course), but mainly because of her generous, pleasant manners and her versatile personality. She's such a talented person that she graduated from art school a year early and was hired to work for Mocha Design Company five years ago. During all this time, other companies never stopped trying to hire Lindsey, but she refused them all. That's another reason why her co-workers and supervisors love her. Although Lindsey is everybody's friend, when it comes down to it, no one really knows about her private life. It's like entering a foggy forest when anyone asks her personal questions. She just gives you an enigmatic smile and subtly changes the subject. No one has actually gone out with her officially or visited her house, either. She is sort of a mythical person, and because of that, her colleagues have given her a nickname, "the Goddess." "Here, Lin. This one is from me; you have to open it first." Helen squeaks with excitement and hands over a small, pink box with pale blue ribbons. "Oh, thank you! Of course I'll open it first. You're special!" Lindsey pokes Helen's nose with one finger and winks at her. That makes Helen giggle even more. You could say Helen is Lindsey's closest friend. She's 23. But even so, she hasn't ever gone out with Helen. Lindsey opens the box, and there lies a light yellow bikini with milky pink ribbons on the sides and top. Everyone gasps with amazement. Helen smiles and says, "I made it myself, you know." After a few moments of silence, Lindsey raises her head and smiles too. "You are a genius, Helen. I love it. Thank you so much!" Lindsey gives Helen a big hug. Everyone thinks Lindsey likes the gift, and she really does, but there's more about her than anyone knows. Lindsey used to love to swim, that is, before the accident. In fact, she was really good at it, and was planning to join the USA swim team when she reached sixteen. Her coach, Michael, had discovered her talent for swimming and encouraged her to go for it. He coached her all the way to college, then the accident... It happened seven years ago, two years before she was hired at Mocha. She was nineteen at the time, a college freshmen. On that sunny Saturday afternoon, Michael and she went to the pool, where they had been going for the past few years, to practice for the swim team competition, scheduled for the following Monday. Usually people crowded the pool, but that day, because it was a three-day weekend, no one was there. Lindsey was happy about this, for she didn't wish to be interrupted by others during her last practice session. When she was doing her dive turns plus a back- flip for the fifth time, she slipped and hit the diving board, cutting herself badly on the abdomen. Michael, who was away buying some drinks, returned in half an hour later and found her hanging onto the edge, soaking in a pool filled with her blood. Hurriedly he called an ambulance and rushed Lindsey to the hospital emergency room. After eight hours of surgery, the doctor said she was going to be fine, but a ten centimeter scar would remain on her abdomen forever. Staring now at the bathroom mirror, Lindsey's memories fall back to the accident. She traces the long, dreadful scar on her tight ivory abdomen with her slim fingers. The scar looks the scariest when she finishes a bath, because the hot steam turns it into a hideous red, dragon-shaped bump. I look like a cursed witch, Lindsey thinks to herself. How can I possibly wear Helen's swimsuit without everyone staring at this? She slowly traced the hideous jagged scar. I haven't been to a beach or pool in years. How could I even go into a pool without fearing I might drown? Ring~ What’s that? Ring~ Oh, my phone. "Hello? Hi, Helen. Say what? This Sunday? Oh...okay. I'll see. I'm not sure, though...I'll call you back and let you know." Lindsey puts the phone down and scowls. What should I do? A swimming party? Maybe I should just tell them I have errands that day...or maybe I'll just pretend I'm sick?