The Wounds on Her Skin

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X sits in her car. Head down. Crying. Even though she’s got her eyes shut tight, she can still see that version of herself curled up on the ground, people walking around her as if she were some kind of dog turd. She’d stayed that way for hours, too, hoping he would come back for her. As the tears drip from her face onto her bare legs, they slide down her thighs before disappearing into her ballet pumps. Pushing her face against the steering wheel, she gulps for air like a fish out of water while attempting to undo her seatbelt. Thrashing about unable to breathe, she kicks her legs and cries and shakes her head and yet can’t free herself. On the verge of passing out, she digs her fingers into the steering wheel and does her best to control her breathing, and after several minutes of tensing every muscle in her body, she’s able to regain a measure of control whereupon she opens the glove box grabbing the inhaler with her right hand before bringing it to her mouth. Clicking it with a clumsy finger, she sucks as much as she can and a few seconds later slumps back into her seat. The taste in her mouth is bitter and synthetic and reminds her of hospitals. In her lap, Herbie looks up with that black sock of hers wrapped around his lower half. Resting her hand on him, he licks her as she stares at the station across the way. Wiping her face, she can still feel the pain in her fingers from where she’d clawed at the ground and the sting in her knees from where she’d cut them to shreds from crawling on all fours looking for her necklace. She never did find it. Strangely enough, she’d kept the dress she’d been wearing. Had stuffed it into a plastic bag and placed it in one of her drawers, stained with blood and dirt and the hurt of that moment she’d done so well at keeping locked away. With her breathing returning to normal, she sits there with her mouth open, looking but not thinking. It’s almost dark now, and yet the pathway leading to the station’s illuminated and in full view. Sucking on her inhaler again, she remembers the face of the policeman standing over her, asking her what was wrong, and how he’d wrapped her in a blanket and sat her in the back of his car trying to figure out what to do with the strange girl he’d stumbled upon. She hadn’t said a word, just sat there looking at her hands. Looking at them in the here and now, the lines on them tell her she’s grown older, and yet the feeling of being lost is as sharp and as desperate as it was back when it was as fresh as the wounds on her skin.

A Journal for Damned Lovers UK

A Journal for Damned Lovers US

Anthology UK / Anthology US

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