I love my scars because they hold stories. My left knee is about sledding into the tree. My left index finger is about whittling an arrow for the school play. The knuckle of my left thumb is about the warts that wouldn't go away for over a decade. The biggest one, from my right hip all the way down the femur, is about climbing down behind the washing machine playing Hide and Seek. Even that little gray dot in my right palm tells about the time I sharpened my pencil a little too much.

I'm 23 now. I've been out of college for over a year and a half, and I've held down a job in "the real world" and paid my own rent for the same length of time. I'm not rich, but I'm not poor either. There's nothing stopping me from being a grownup. Maybe I am one.

But I still love Ramen, dammit. I eat it every week.

Is it because it's so cheap, so quick, so easy to cook? Sure, those. But also...it's simple. It doesn't mislead or confuse. All those noodles, interlocked in the same wavy patterned brick. I remember when I would smash them up with my mom's little wooden mallet before dropping them in the boiling water. These days, I just crackle it up by hand. It's not the same.

The other night, I needed to clear my congested throat and I wanted more broth than my wont. (Beef flavor or nuthin, baby. Though it doesn't resemble any beef I've ever tasted.) I held the bowl over the sink and poured the contents of the pot in, but there was too much liquid, too hot. I yelped as my hand was burned and the crockery spun away from me.

I gripped ice from the freezer and stared at the mess I'd made. Maybe it was just because I was ravenous at 1 AM, but the noodles looked so beautiful, lying twisted together against the flat gray sink. Like pretty blond hair. Freed from their constrictive, unifying brick, allowed to writhe whichever direction they pleased.

I sighed and scooped them into the trash. Then I filled the pot with more tap water.

A couple days later, I noticed that a small patch of skin on the back of my right ring finger was tanned and leathery. Any number of years in the future, I could be anywhere in the world, doing anything from sex to rock climbing to reading. And if that finger passes my eye, I'll think about this time in my life, and that apartment, and my lazy obsession with shit comfort food. I carry the memory on my person. Like a tattoo in a universal language. I am what I ate.

This was a nodeshell challenge for Templeton.

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