He gently cups her cheek and lightly smears the ointment over her wound.
Her eyes tremble as she question the tenderness in his touch, confused by the wrenching in her chest.
His sharp eyes never stray nor meet her gaze.
It is only her, looking. It is only her, wondering.
Suddenly, his fingers trail down to her chin and guided her to face sideways. He notes the number of scratches and scars on her face.
And she sees how his eyes cloud and lose focus. She stiffens, a feeling of embarrassment swept through her. She feels inadequate. She feels ugly and disgusting. Worst of it was, she didn’t even know why. She could only think of how back home, a lot of women with perfectly clean faces, unscathed and radiant, were lying in wait for the man before her. And the thought made the pain in her chest unbearable.
Instead of beauty, she chose to fight. Instead of love, she chose humanity. And now that she was older, exhausted to no end, ridden with the unseemly embellishments of battle, she feared she no longer had anything to offer him. So, why must she even begin to dream of confessing, of placing him in a position that would only cause discomfort and awkwardness.
Still, in a fit of resolve and torment, she does confess. She tells him without expectation nor remorse; tells him, truthfully and wholeheartedly.
Funny thing was, what she questioned in herself, he loved about her. He admired her without parallel, without doubt, without agenda. That of everything she could have done with her life, she chose to fight.
In her scars, he saw her strength. And in her scars, he saw his resolve. Regardless of the outcome of the war, he vowed to himself that, for her, he would secure tomorrow.