Six Skin Patches, Seven Moments

I'm from Brooklyn. I go to college in Ohio. I write.

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story
Rocking. Back and forth. Forearms forcibly strangling shins. My body a pendulum of fear.
My brain shouting lyrics to memorized songs in attempt to drown out the panic-inducing whispers. What I constantly fail to remember -- whether it’s in my room, on a New York City street, while watching TV, or like right now, at 3 a.m. on the crumb-covered couch at my dad’s house -- all thoughts have the same volume.
Atrium. Ventricle. Atrium. Ventricle.
My tear ducts ironically relax. I silently chant random thoughts, things I see, the time, “No, no, no, no,” “It’s ok,” “I’m going to die,” “I’m not going to die,” “I’m going to fucking die,” but no matter what vibrations I get my larynx to push out, my blood doesn’t believe me. My flaring nostrils don’t believe me. My undulating chest doesn’t believe me. My hairs standing at attention don’t believe me. My face, providing the waves for my tears to surf doesn’t believe me. So, I rock.
Rock on, all night long.

Left Pectoral
March 2016. I lasso for air and calming.
Witch-hazel casts a spell on my nostrils. The astringent sunk into paper towel. Alcohol’s cuter cousin hugs my nose hairs. As my legs hang from the chair, my nose is affixed. The strength of the scent intermittent. Weaker when placed on the metal tray.
Stronger when rubbed over my skin. With it, goes my darkened blood and the remnants of the piece. This pain similar to when I thought 2012 was the end. Irrational thoughts crept into a fully-dressed high school freshman at 7 a.m. Paranoid. Eyes scanning the room for something that wasn’t there.
Locking myself in the bathroom. Grabbing the sharp corner piece from a plastic Tylenol allergy packet. Repeatedly shaping the soil of my skin with a plastic hoe. Carving in my forearm the letters “LAD” -- in greek letters -- for “Life after death.” If I died, I would be reborn because of this scar. I can’t die. I’m immortal. I can’t die. I can’t.
Holding the buzzing needle, the guy tells me we’re almost done.
Fluorine lewis structure inscribed on my chest. Seven electrons. A cool idea I thought of in abnormal psychology class. Depressed.
I am Fluorine. Nearly perfect, but still searching for something, someone, someplace to fill my octet.

I go on adventures through the protruding and underlying elements of my body with the cream painted Jeep Grand Cherokees that are my palms looking for, inspecting, dissecting, admiring, hating the new topography, craters, volcanoes, and the same old discolored dry patches, underground rivers, thin plants with various lengths, cracked deserts, covered trenches, undefined flatlands, examining the connectivity of the land through its roots and I scan, and I journey, and I discover, and I wonder why no one finds me attractive.

Right Pectoral and Sternum
April 2017. A house fly sits on my eardrum with wings raised high and buzzes toward my cochlea.
My eyelids snap open, broaching for tears. Nothing comes. I’ve heard this sound before.
The buzz continues as synapses recall. Same ceiling. Poster of a gigantic tree and creatures. Tawny roots unfurling across the page. Cartoon red eyes piercing from the abyss. Roses.
Same chair. The leather on the furniture sticks the same. Jet black. Swiveling. Masochist dentist chair. Detaining the miniscule hairs for artistic torture.
Rin. Gon Freecs. Killua Zoldyck. Anime characters interwoven with my epidermis. Rin’s inky grin a reminder that I one day want to see my future daughter Rin smile at me.

I can’t move. The sun rises and sets, and I can’t move. Landlocked by the mountains of paper-thin drywall. Stuck deep in the swamp and miasma of morning breath and despondence. Stuck. Stuck and rooted in my beguiling bed. My bed seems to be the only person that wants to hold me. I don’t let go. Getting up makes no sense. Outside this bed is a major I no longer enjoy, with nomenclature I can’t grasp, the major with jobs I don’t want, the major I’m no good at, women who stare for the wrong reasons, women who look but don’t touch, women who stick to what they know, food I don’t want to ingest, air I don’t want to breathe, parties I don’t want to attend, a life with questions, a life of unwanted wanderlust, a life of misunderstanding, a life with no meaning. This bed has meaning.

Left Ring Finger
April 2017. ‘E’ is for emotions.

If I can’t figure out what my purpose in life is by the third week in November, I’m going to kill myself.

Right Ring Finger
April 2017. ‘R’ is for relationships.
Emotions and relationships are the two reasons I stay alive.

Overdose. I’ll OD. I’m tired. I miss percocet and promethazine. I pine to be numb again as I stare at the trees on the side of South Patterson Boulevard. I’m tired. I’ll leave an empty container and stare at the moon and Orion’s belt as I permanently strap myself to the grass. I’m tired. I know the police will find my fresh corpse, but I wish they wouldn’t so that I could decay -- make it all go away -- and have the dirt, and the ants, and the roots, and the worms jump in my bones. I’m tired. My mom will cry. I’ve made her sob before. Amelia will be upset. I’ve made her furious before. I’m tired. I’m tired of saying “I’m tired.” I’m so fucking tired, and I’ve been in bed all day.

December 2017. I don’t feel it.
My latte complexion the sheet. Needle synonymous with a bladed curling broom. Etching. Leaving shaves of red ice. Maneuvering across a stenciled path. Forever stained by the stone.
I don’t feel it though.
No more pain. I’ve hurt enough. I’ve cried enough surfing tears. I’ve bled enough. I’ve sulked enough. I’ve been trapped by my covers for far too many days. I’ve had enough suicidal thoughts -- selfish thoughts. I’ve hurt enough.
Fluorine. Rin. Gon. Killua. E. R. They’ve kept me alive but not living. I had to figure that out myself. Through the pain, I sat down with death. We came to an agreement that I was not immortal, but she let me know that nothing is -- not even her. I came to the understanding that life is finite. It is unique. It is foreseeably once. Mine may end in decades. It may end in years. Or tomorrow. Or today. But it will end, and that’s okay.
Fluorine. Rin. Gon. Killua. E. R. They’ve kept me alive and without them, as constant reminders, I would have never met death and be able to call her... an acquaintance. In the process, I made life my friend. And these new tattoos -- a tombstone of the sun and a tombstone of the moon -- are reminders of that. That in life there’s pain. And in life there’s death. And there’s beauty in that. So, I don’t feel it.
Okay, I felt that one.

I’m beautiful. My bird chest. My noodle arms. My curly and straight hair. My giraffe neck. My saliva-stained big, pink lips. I’m fucking gorgeous. Facing my reflection, four-by-fours drift thru sand dunes and halt at every dark spot, every blotch, every burn, scar, and mole to notice its uniqueness and actuality. Ink and confidence simultaneously clog my pores, and I reek of it. The recent sex has helped, but rest assured I became conscious of my foxy-ness on my own. I shift and pose for the cameras in my irises. As I genuinely admire my body, I remember my newfound purpose in life: To continuously create art that informs, produces movement, feeling, change, and sparks due recognition. To love, and to love, and to love. To acknowledge my mistakes, the mistakes of humankind, and the mistakes of the universe in order to explain how to progress as well as prepare.

December 2017. I like lemon and mint.
So, I get tattoos of lemon and mint.

I still fight with attacks. They’re rarely full on attacks, but they still happen. Last night, I got out of my bed and ran through the halls of my apartment building in my underwear to get death off my mind. She’s still an acquaintance, not a friend.