Riding in the back of a car in the dimly lamplight 9:00. Bumps punctuating the forest to either side. How had that conversation started? The middle:
"Well, my sister
Fingers slithering towards wrist. A casual stiffening of shoulders at contact, synchronized perfectly with the sound of the title. After the explanation:
"I don't want them to put me in therapy because I cry or something."
They had no right sitting that 3rd grader in a green chair across from a lady with spiky blond hair. The uncomfortable chair always kept reserved for the entrance of a doubly braided head next to a plusher couch. The chair always occupied.
"Well, I'm depressed so I kind of need that
"So am I."
Measured exhale. Fingers alert at wrist. But why?
"Really? You always seem so happy
masks." An ironic grin to no one. Even scrambling nails couldn't tuck away that concept eagerly jotted down by two poets so long ago.
A flash of light from one properly working streetlamp. Eyes down turned to follow the angle of two twisted arms connected at a rusty wrist. The white of that soft headband wrapped on the arm explicitly to float in the black lights now infected scarlet from a quiet folding over that oxidized iron deposit. If it were a little darker
No one notices a gray wristband.
dark so dark. Why turn on a LED to see the damage so far done? Isn't the point not to care? Why dig those nonexistent nails so badly bitten? To punish skin for soft emotions? There's not enough hurt to bring salt from eyes either way. Why let them grow longer, do their job just a little easier? Is this a plea for attention? Why a gray wristband then? Is it "experimentation?" Deeper. Light. Pinprick of rust. Deeper. Second pinprick. A long scrap in just the right diagonal. As close to a flow as possible for the night. The stealth of a gray wristband too short to cover both welts. The first is closer to healed. It can be seen.
No one notices a sticky wristband.
Staring out a window on the way to school dreading (hoping?) for that ghostly white hair of the past. Fingers readied in anticipation. As long as he doesn't turn
Opening those doors with such a mean smile.
The reflection of a face from those long ago mornings.
So much Laughter.
Receding hands and continued conversation in jovial tones. Coat covering sleeve covering skin.
No one can even see a wristband.
It finally hurts. Hot water muddying the clot, deepening the shaft downwards, adding more layers. Time to stop. It'll make a scar. It'll still be there. And then a conveniently red washcloth. Rubbing. Rubbing. No need for nails. No need for a sharp puncture, the will to send aches though the body.
It just looks so ugly-
It won't bleed-
Just need that green thing off.
No one notices a soaking wristband.
So painful after too many showers. Too many sticky rips separating fabric from skin. It's getting too loose
two hair bands to keep it in place? Yes, crisscrossed just like that. "X" marks the spot. But even that isn't holding. Twist it over that still innocent hand one more time. And roll it - just keep rolling it into place - keep synching that wrist closer and closer - why does it have to be so sharp? until there rests an immovable iron cap for that larger deposit beneath it.
No one notices a tightening wristband.
locker room dilemma. To risk a call of attention? The eyes of an entire class accusing the wrist? It had happened before. When it still didn't hurt. No one saw then, but now
The gray tourniquet hung in a cubby; the wound so exposed and bound to bleed without something to staunch it.
Why did it have to be volleyball? Any other sport than volleyball. That yellow projectile threatened so much. Sacrificing a performance grade by passing it wrongly, with elbows instead of that so tender spot. But inevitably, the dreaded point of impact. Tiny dots of emerging rust subdued by pressing pus, each one a little circlet around the pore it seeped from. Needles of fire and ice and everything in between all slowly jabbing at the same time. Clutching the spot, concealed screams laughed off as a repeated, unexplained,
Numbness at the next contact. Not that seeked comfort but a red numb. The tourniquet safely in a cubby without detection.
Someone would have noticed a wristband.
One final tug, one final severed connection followed by a black Sharpie tracing those faint flakes which perfectly outline the edge of nervous purple. Two cooling ink borders, the second smaller from that other night so long ago in the car. It hadn't healed. Then, a singular swoop to the side.
Maybe this should get another try.
Maybe this one should get a name.
Cap on Sharpie, artificial skin softly closing that mine drilled too deeply. Why dig for such an invaluable mineral in the first place?
No one notices a flesh tone Band-Aid.
No one notices healing.