“I’ve never slit my wrists”, she said, her eyes sliding onto my chest. “I carve words. Words and only words. And he thinks it’s beautiful what I’m doing to myself, so I keep carving away and away, until I’m a fucking walking dictionary.”
I run a finger up her arm, feeling the soft sinking of scars and the scratching of new scabs. Deeper, deeper, as they run up her fragile arm. My digit meets a fresh scab and I feel a jolt of sick excitement as I brush over it. I have the sudden urge to rip down her arm with my nails, to tear open the wounds and blur the edges, but I don’t. I don’t know how she’d react, and after all, it’ll make the scars less defined. I think to myself, I don’t know why I want to hurt this girl so much. She’s hurting in so many other ways that I could never understand, and yet half an hour ago, I was scratching at her, and biting her soft skin. I open my eyes and stare at her chin. It’s oddly defiant, amongst subtle cheekbones and the small crows-feet that grace her eyes.
“I love him. I do, but he’s driving me insane.” I nod, and keep staring at her chin. “This isn’t the normal way to treat someone, it really isn’t, but I don‘t know what to do about it.”
She runs her fingers down my chest, sending shivers through my stomach and into my spine. Her nails are bitten, and the edges are rough, scratching on the skin. A while ago, those small nails were dug into the pale flesh of my back as she shrieked curses against him, against her life, against herself, against gods and against all that she used to believe in. The bloody crescent moons on my shoulders are souvenirs, are filled with hate and frustration and passion. I breathe in sharply as she traces the sharp outline of my hip. These were connected to hers, these were colliding against her fragile counterpart, and they still hold the memories. We’ll both be bruised tomorrow, but I’ll savour the pain, and it’ll remind me of her.
“I could leave, but I couldn’t do that to him. He’s got me on a leash, bound and captive to his every will, his every word. And these scars, this is the collar, and this is the chain.”
I shiver, as she jabs her finger violently towards her right breast and then towards her stomach. Her stomach is flat, but not toned, and slightly tanned. Her collar is love, engraved into the flesh in purple tinges. My eyes move towards her chain. Her nipple is rose and risen, and absent minded, I rub it between my finger and thumb as I read the two words above it. Forgiveness and loyalty. My fingers look flaky and skeletal against her smooth curves. She is by no means perfect, but I store her away in the back-catalogue of my memories, concentrating on the dimpled skin of her thighs, the scars that dance in the moving shadows, the harsh curves of hair that frame her small face. I will keep her shadow, like he keeps her, attached to me.
“He wouldn’t care if he knew about this”, she said, her eyes not meeting mine. “It’d just be another thing he would use, he would play the martyr. That will be my next word, the next set of letters to grace me. And he’ll kiss it, and laugh, and I’ll smile only with my mouth.”
I only met her a few hours ago, I remind myself, I’m just the next one in a line of quick fucks. Comfort in punishment, and a willing ear to hear the story that she weaves. Her web of words. All at once, a million things I could say rush to my throat, but I choke them back. I had her, or rather, she had me. She guided me into her, as I stared dumbfounded at the engravings on her shoulders, and the yellow-purple love bite on her neck. I lie next to her, my breathing shallow, as she twists a lock of my hair around her finger. She smells of men’s deodorant, Marlboro Reds, sex, and tequila. I try to concentrate on her scent, but she’s like a chameleon, picking up the fragrances as she picks up men.
“All these words, all these fucking stupid words, and all of them are forever”, she laughs, the sound echoing bitterly.
I try to kiss her on the mouth, but she twists away, and sits on the edge of the bed, her shallow back a silhouette against my open window. Streetlights soften the edges, and she could be anyone. She bends down and picks up a vest and a pair of pants, and slips them on in a single angular motion. I stare at her as she buttons up a shirt, her elbows awkward and her eyes not meeting mine, and as she zips up her jeans and slips on a pair of small black shoes. My mind shrieks that I don’t even know her name. She wouldn’t tell me, or let me tell her mine, but simply instructed me to take her to my house. I am anonymous, as she turns to smile unevenly at me from the darkened doorway, and already half-forgotten and forgetting as I hear the porch door slam a few seconds later.