For a while, I wondered who I was. I didn’t know. It didn’t seem to matter. There was a strange sense of peace, of satisfaction in not being.
I wandered. Drifted through the streets. Down a dark alley, I leaned against a wall and tried to taste the fog. Nameless, faceless people moved past, the fog flowing silently around them, through them, within them.
A girl appeared to melt out of the fog beside me. “You lookin’ for some lovin’?” she asked. She wasn’t clean. Or healthy. Her hair hung in limp rat lines. Her eyes were pale blue, so pale they were almost white. She was dangling a cigarette from one hand, scratching at the track marks on her arm.
“Not lookin’ for anything,” I mumbled.
She grunted and squatted against the wall. I looked at her for a while and squatted down beside her. She didn’t seem to mind. “Do you know who you are?” I asked.
She looked like a rabbit caught in headlights. I looked away. She spat on the ground and began.
“I am an atlas. A map of the touch of men. The trace of the fingers of every man who’s ever touched me is hardwired into my skin. Lonely men. Perverted men. Psychotic men. There must be thousands by now. Maybe more. I don’t know.
“I remember every one of them. Their map. The way they touched my skin, my body. The marks they left behind. They never fade. Nothing removes them.
“Some men make the same maps, over and over. Those marks run the deepest.
“There was one man, once, who liked to suck his index finger then push it up my arse as he climaxed. He’s the man who made me who I am.
“There was another, many years ago, before all this, who touched me with a lovers’ touch. Soft and slow and lingering, encouraging me to trust, to yield, to love. His is the touch I long for still. But his touch is forbidden. It was not what a father’s touch should be. He too made me who I am.”
She was silent for a time. I wondered if I’d ever left a map. I didn’t know.
A man’s shoes appeared in front of the girl. He dragged her up by the hair and left with her. He was sucking his index finger.
My legs had cramped. I wandered on. Drifted through the streets. Down a dark alley, I leant against a wall and tried to taste the fog. Nameless, faceless people moved past, the fog flowing silently around them, through them, within them.
A woman appeared to melt out of the fog beside me. My name was tattooed on her arm; “Daddy”.
For a moment I remembered who I _
© Bea Pierce, 2014