Skin Deep


Jess was a vibrant punk princess with shiny Black hair, bright Blue eyes and a glowing White smile. She was the queen of cool, rock star by night, and English scholar by day. But she had secrets…. Dark secrets.

Every night after a gig or a night out, she opened the small wooden box kept stashed away in the depths of her closet. Nobody knew about this box. The box contained an assortment of razor blades, shards of glass, and other sharp cutting objects, the tools of her trade.

She would usually turn on some Depeche Mode or Morrissey and begin to cut her smooth perfect skin, on the upper thighs and stomach. She would start small, creating little lines and connecting them until the blood formed a pattern. But those little lines soon turned to big gashes. Bleeding felt good. Sometimes she would laugh, sometimes she would cry, sometimes she would taste it and smear it into her skin.

Her self-inflicted pain was a private pleasure and a psychological mind fuck. She knew she could never tell anyone about it, surely they’d lock her up in a White room somewhere.

One day she was in the throes of a cutting binge when she heard a knock at her bedroom door.

“Oh shit… ONE SECOND. Don’t come in.”

She panicked as she wiped the smeared blood from her cheek and fumbled to find a sweat shirt in her hamper.

“JUST A MINUTE… I’m not dressed. I’m almost ready.”

She opened the door to find her mom standing there with tears in her eyes.

“You were doing it again weren’t you?”

“Doing what mom, what are you talking about?”

Tears streamed down her mothers cheeks as she struggled to keep from a total break down. “Jesus Jess… I found the box in your closet months ago. I’ve seen blood on your clothes… You still have blood on your cheek. WHY? Why do you do it?”

Jess began to cry as she hugged her confused mother “I don’t know mom… I have to. I can’t stop.”

“You don’t have to honey… Please. I can’t watch you do this anymore.”

“I don’t know what to do.”

“Give me the box.”

“I can’t.”

“You don’t have a choice Jess… I can’t watch you self-destruct like this… Please, give me the box.”

She handed her mother the small wooden box that had seen her through 2 years of self-loathing and pleasure laced with pain. She felt relieved yet mourned the loss.

Her mother hugged her and whispered “I want my daughter back” into her ear, which made her cry hard into her mothers shoulder.

“I didn’t know that you knew” she said

“But aren’t you glad I do now?”

“I just want to be normal…”

“I know honey. We’ll get through this.”

The two of them sat on her bed in the dim White light, holding hands and thinking of brighter days ahead.


6 thoughts on “Skin Deep

  1. If that story had been any longer, and i’m not ashamed to say this, I’d have cried. I don’t know why but stories like the above of people seemingly all alone just get to me.

    Great writing.

  2. no trademark esoteric, little wiseass remark from me this go round…

    i’ll just simply raise a glass of shiraz in honor of your craft… (and might even pretend i’m sipping Riesling)

  3. Dave: Thank you. That is always what I hope to achieve with any piece of writing. Not sadness… just an emotional response. Especially since I always try to write from an emotional place.

    Rev: Most times it’s not as simple as getting positive attention. I am sorry that you had to see this experience firsthand. It’s not easy to have to see.

    Chico: Thanks – I raise a glas back at you and your craft too. Shiraz… You love those bold wines don’t you. I have a couple of new recommendations for you to try.

    Steve: Verdehlo eh… Isn’t that a Portuguese wine? Very nice! Growing up is a bitch!

    Justordinary: You said it.

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