Thursday, September 2, 2010

Strange Ways We Love To Suffer

 by Isabella Ling

The ink is black and dark, just like how I imagined it to be, just like how I imagined I would feel right now. The hum of the machine resonates in my ear as the needle pierced the skin of skin on my shoulder, colouring my skin permanently. I try to imagine how the needle would spIn and twist but I don't really care. The needle drags itself across my now tender skin, as tender as my heart but not as painful. I revel in the little pain it brought, I had thought it would hurt more. 

I think of him as my skin is being pulled taut. Of yesterday, how I had finally seen him again after so long, how we had left each other only this morning, but it seems so far away now. I laugh and smile as a video of me was being taken, I don't let them see how I really feel.
"I think people who get tattoos are sadistic," I said.

"You will be thinking about getting a new one in one or two months, trust me."

"I know, that's why I said people are sadistic, to put ourselves through this pain."

'Well, people are sadistic," The needle continues dotting my skin with ink.

All I can concentrate on is the dull throb between my legs. He had spun me around and taken me hard and rough from behind. I remembered how he had filled me up. I like to think he had been that way because he really wanted and needed me. I am greedy, I want it to be both. I wished he had fucked me till I bled, so he can see the pain he is causing me. He was so gentle when he held me before that, but he has never been with my heart.

Come with me tonight cause I am drunk, I need you near me, I will cuddle you my little baby, the texts had read. I will regret this come tomorrow, I thought. Still I went, along with the wretched feelings that will surface the following day. He said he can never make anyone happy. As the needle continues its journey across my skin, I want to scream and take the needle and put my name on his heart forever. 

I lie on my side as the needle moves across the side of my breasts and down my ribs. The pain this time is more intense, more real, more like how it should be. The pain distracts me, at least for a while. I curse and swear through the pain but the pain doesn't hurt.

There were so many things I wanted to say, have to say, they formed in my mind and died at the tip of my tongue. I kept silent while in the cab with him to his place. If only time could stop with his arms around me and lips on my hair. He is so good at being silent. I searched for hidden meanings in the words he did say, wishing he would say the words I wished to hear. 

Later, I bit his lips when we kissed. How I loathe that he only needs me when he is drunk. But I loathe the idea of him not needing or wanting me at all even more. Need, he had said. Such a powerful word, I cradle it and repeat it like a broken record in my head. 

He has revealed so much yet nothing. I feel like I know him but I know nothing about him. Was there a quiet desperation that I sensed in him yesterday? I want to devour him and keep him inside. I should have been drunk, so I could have said the things he had whispered to me in bed. The needle jolts me back to reality, I held my breath as I wait for the next sting. I know he will not call tonight. I need more distractions, maybe more tattoos. Strange ways we love to suffer. 

Isabella Ling wrote half of this while listening to The National. "Strange ways we love to suffer" is a line off their cover of "Sleep All Summer". She thinks Hello Kitty is disgusting. Her current favourite word is need, but it would be better if it comes with want.

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