Breaking Skin

My card doesn’t work and the wind cutting bitter against the skin on my hand is so fucking freezing it burns like hot pinpricks all over. Times are tough and the globe is melting into itself but at the moment I’m stuck cursing the gas pump card reader while foraging for another card to try so I can get the hell out of there before my coffee gets cold or my frostbitten digits fall off, which ever comes first.

If I had half my act together I would have filled the tank yesterday but I was tired of everything and the old familiar feeling of gloom had settled in by the time the red sun sank low into the naked nest of trees in the meadow across the street.

Wandering the back roads on the way to the office, I watch as a man emerges from the side door of his little cottage-like home with his dog on a leash wearing only pajamas and an overcoat. No, the man in the pajamas and overcoat, the dog wearing only the collar and leash and a grumbled look on its face as if it, too, thinks walking in this nasty cold is a bad idea indeed.

The man lights a cigarette, oblivious. Numb.

I shudder as I drive on by.

Listening to someone on the radio chatter on about whether or not to break off her engagement with some poor chap who spent a good portion of his meager salary to buy her a shit ring, I wince and laugh out loud as people call in to offer their advice which the girl listens to and debates as we secretly judge her and all the other strangers for having poor instincts and even less tact.

I shouldn’t judge, of course, but everybody does and I’m quite tired, in fact, of worrying about what I should and should not do or care about according to a society so completely and perfectly morally screwed up it has no business instructing anyone about anything.

Later on I’m back at home with a whiskey, re-reading Virginia Woolf’s “The Death of the Moth” and trying to warm my hollow bones. Woolf observes the helpless winged specimen as it flits and flutters erratically in her windowsill until finally it struggles its last with tiny legs wriggling against the empty air and perishes, as small and strange in fitful life as it is frozen stiff in death.

The essay was published a year after Virginia Woolf ended her own life by walking into the River Ouse at Lewes with stones in her coat pockets, weighing her down.

A deep tug of sorrow fills my heart for someone I admire but do not know.

I swallow hard and watch as a steady swath of white smoke trails from a chimney across the way, thin and pale, vanishing like a ghost.


Photo by Michele Seghieri

10 Replies to “Breaking Skin”

  1. You are a brilliant writer. Thank you for making me feel something. As a creative that’s what I search for. Works that really resonate and ignite a spark. That speak to the experience of being entirely seen, heard, known. That serve to calm, to inspire, to console, to empathise with. This is something special. So vivid. There is a real sense of yearning to your words. The sentences you’ve strung together tug at my heart strings. Incredible really.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your thoughtful beautiful comment means everything to me. I just cannot thank you enough for taking the time and care to share your feelings with me about this piece. Knowing you feel these things is beyond heartening for me. Thank you ever so much. ❤️❤️


  2. Why is it that I find so much thrill and excitement in these downhearted words of yours? Is it the shear brilliance that so beautifully emanates from them? Or perhaps it’s the familiar world they so enticingly describe? Maybe it’s the pain I can sense in them and can relate to? Perhaps it’s a mixture of them all. Part of me feels a bit ashamed to feel this as I remind myself that feeling joy while devouring the words of sadness is probably not the most sane of things. It’s actually kind off fucked up. Or it’s a testament to how brilliant you are. I choose the latter… Hence: Thank you for sharing you! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a gorgeous thing to say, thank you ever so much. I’m so touched that these words make you feel, no matter what the feelings. I love to think all of these reasons you share are swirled in together, they all make so much sense to me. You have a third eye vibe, you see beneath and beyond. ❤ This world has so little time for we who feel the pain, sadness, melancholy, ruthlessness, rawness. The world wants gloss, fake. Souls like you and me, we want the bitter and the ecstatic and we know you cannot fully taste one if you aren't willing to swallow the other. It is all human, all divine. Love to you. Thank you for your generous heart. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your wisdom strides forward, neck by neck, with your brilliance. It’s a rare thing nowadays to find a refuge from insanity that surrounds us. yet I find it in your words. While the tranquility they bring may only be temporary it is nevertheless so potent that it matters not if it only last a split second. You are very right that the world (especially nowadays) accepts only pristine and glossy even though it is demanded to be such on the surface. Yet, my claim is that even though we who let in and feel pain, sadness, melancholy, ruthlessness, and rawness – we are in the end the ones who are hopeful romantics that also see the beauty and joy that lives in the cracks of the world that so desperately tries to paint itself horrible and savage. Sadly the only way we can reach inside those cracks is through bitterness and sadness… Thank you for existing. Much love to you. Always. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

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