Wednesday, October 17, 2012


For Trifecta:

"I am black on the outside because I'm black on the inside," she said. I had to lean in to hear her over the thumping of the bass. She swayed back and forth without rhythm, her hair hanging in her face. It seemed contrived at the time, a cultivated look, with long sleeves and an odd combination of shaved scalp and hairspray, with more than enough eyeliner and mascara. I remember the clearly discernible shape of an iron burned into her forearm, peeking out from that sleeve.

Some months later, I realized it was exactly how she felt on the inside. She lit candles and ceremoniously invited me to sit on the floor with her and watch her cut lines into those same forearms. She reverently sterilized the razor blade first. I could see the white lines of scars that spoke of many ceremonies before.

I couldn’t do it, though. I couldn’t sit there and watch, and I couldn’t save her. I left. I hope that someday she invited the right person to participate in her ritual, the person who would knock the blade from her hand, who would shake her awake and dress her in greens, and golds, and pinks. But I fear that instead, it was my destiny to be that person, and I failed.


Jester Queen said...

To the speaker, I would argue that nobody other than the girl herself can force her to stop. Refusing to bear witness is a strong statement in and of itself.

Anonymous said...

This was an amazing stripping away of a goth stereotype to reveal more than just suburban angst. I would argue to the speaker that bearing witness in the memory might have actually been their fate.

I, Rodius said...

Thanks. She's a composite of a couple of different women, and for one, refusing to bear witness was a strong statement. I don't know what ever happened to the chick with the iron burn on her arm, though. I wish her well.

karen said...

I have to agree, bearing witness is sometimes all we can do, and walking away is better than playing into the game. From experience I know that knowing this doesn't make it any easier in remembrance.

I hope the chick with the iron burn on her arm found her way too.

This was beautiful and raw.

Trifecta said...

This was hard to read for all the right reasons. I applaud getting up and walking away. You don't hold someone's hand while she's trying to cut it away.

Flippa Bird said...

Yikes... I hate to say it, but people like this have become a bit of a cliche. Walking away is the right thing to do. Excellent read!

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