Satisfaction

“It’s not fair to your teammates if you don’t put your all into it.” I could feel the heat spread across my cheeks. I was both humiliated and furious by the coach’s words. How dare he accuse me of holding back, of not giving it my all, of being lazy? I poured more into my paddling than many on the team.

I was still fuming at the coach’s accusations after practice. “That was totally uncalled for,” I ranted to Joyce.

She chuckled. “I could tell from the back of the boat that you were really pissed off—the back of your neck got red, and your scars really stood out. They always do when you get upset.”

I was so startled, my fury subsided almost instantaneously.

I felt gratified. After she added that the scars were so prominent they were probably noticeable even to those who didn’t know to look, I felt vindicated.

Vindicated? About what? That my invisible scars briefly became visible? Why?

Now, several years since that day, I no longer fume at the coach. Do I still fell vindicated? I search through my emotions, again and again. Yes. It's still there, that feeling of satisfaction that my scars occasionally become visible. It's faded to a mere twinge, but it will not be denied.

Why?