There was a rust-colored scab spanning the thick, folded skin of Meredith’s left elbow. She noticed it during first period, while her English 9 students took a test, with no idea where it’d come from. It wasn’t all that big– the size and shape of a grain of rice, give or take– but perceptible nonetheless. Meredith hated running her fingers down her arm and feeling it there, like an unwanted interruption, but she couldn’t stop. The clock ticked behind her. Her students scratched away at their tests. Faster and faster Meredith’s fingers ran over that scab, and then finally, one nail dug under and tore it off. There. She exhaled slowly.