Pick

Her face approached before the rest of her being, stretching as though on a band of elastic. It was weeping with open sores circling outward into scab freckles. I felt shocked and wanted to lower my stare. She called my eyes to attention as our step was about to overlap. She must have known I’d walk on by shaking the vision off as none of my business. I was to be her story receptacle.
I tried to guard my face but she had already transmitted. I stopped whilst still walking onward. I no longer realised my own thoughts. I am possessed and I only know one method of exorcism.

She is three years old crying on the kerb, listening to her familiar voices screaming, hands smashing things. Her fingers claw at her face, they discover an insect bite. She scratches until the sting and warm blood distracts her mind. The feeling is wonderful but short lived. The wound heals forming a scab over her scared feelings. The next day the voices and hands start again. She picks and hears silence. Day’s are spent on the kerb picking one scab. It becomes a crater. Not deep enough.

She is six years old on the kerb with a needle in her hand and a small compact mirror stolen from her mother’s drawer. With each scream she inserts the needle into the flesh of her face until it draws a warm gush. She feels peaceful. Overnight the wounds rebirth into scabs to be savoured and picked at the next scream. Years pass with a needle, wounds, scabs and bloody reprieve.

She is sixteen years old when the kerb and the many streets of her neighbourhood become her refuge. Wandering day and night she only hears screams and stops to stare at the breaking of things. Picking as she walks; curling into the nearest kerb. Stepping and picking out a pattern that is her life.

She is as old as I am, on the day she decides to tell her story. There is no longer a spot of fleshy face skin left to prick, nor will to pick. I become desperate with the idea of finding the house that should have been filled with laughter and love. I know if I don’t make it in time, I’ll find her resting for eternity curled up on her kerbside home.

I walk the streets for years repeating a hopeful mantra “wait for me” and picking my face.

Pick

Lisa  Jewell

Joined July 2007

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