Skin

Before I go to sleep, I write your name on my skin. I write it over and over again.

Skin
Photo by Kalea Jerielle / Unsplash
[…] the grotesque body is not separated from the rest of the world. It is not a closed, completed unit; it is unfinished, outgrows itself, transgresses its own limits.

—Bakhtin


I write a list of all the things I want down the inside of my forearm.  I do this with a soft felt pen so it will tickle me, a little ghost of the frisson I’ll feel when those things are mine.

A NEW KITCHEN

A COFFEE MACHINE (A FANCY ONE)

A NICER CAR (LIKE A GOLF OR SOMETHING)

And various other things.

I run out of space at the pit of my elbow.  And I can see that COFFEE MACHINE (A FANCY ONE) has smudged.  The side of my right palm is blackened with my clumsiness.

That night, I go to sleep.  I am a little drunk when I do, so I do not wash myself.

In the morning, the writing is disappeared.  I feel gummed, grizzled, a hangover in its hammock in my head.  I pad downstairs, feet sticky on the lino.

My new kitchen greets me in a blaze of light.  It is white and beautiful. My new coffee machine hums, content, like a pedigree cat.

I pull the curtains and draw back.  My car has gone.  It has been replaced.

By a new one.

Later, when I am washed and dressed, I take the car out on country roads, feel the jerk under my navel when I come down hills, too fast, too loose, really.  You never liked it when I did that.  You would drip the dashboard and you would tell me to stop it.

I haven’t seen you for years.  I tried to, of course.  But gradually you closed down every avenue, path, tunnel, vent.  Calls rang off and then did not ring at all.  I tried and tried.  I wanted to find you.

I get back from the drive.  It is a warm day.  I sit in my beautiful kitchen and drink my eighth latte of the day.  I eye the red wine.

Before I go to sleep, I write your name on my skin.  I write it over and over again.

In the morning, you are surprised to see me.  But you are standing at my door, carnations in your fist.  You hold them out.

That’s right.

I take my pen out and write FOREVER on my arm.  You do not blink.