I woke up feeling cold this morning and the clouds were fighting their way in between the bedroom blinds that were left open in the middle of the night. I found my body naked and bent and I thought about Nicole Du Fresne and her star quality blonde hair and blue eyes and perfect teeth and I wondered how her hair and face and body fell into the concrete ground on Rivington Street after she was shot in the chest by that nineteen year-old boy. We passed that corner the night before.
You know, I read in the papers that she was raped when she was younger, he said, as we were looking for a restaurant that felt like a good fit. There were no good fits. The first one I wanted he didn’t and the one he wanted I didn’t and the other one was closed and so we went back to the first one even though he didn’t think it a good fit but we sat down anyway and ordered food and he told me the story about meeting Jeanine Garofolo at the Comedy Festival. I didn’t tell him that I met her at Pianos some months before and she was nice to me even though she wasn’t nice to him because what does it matter anyway?
After he ate his food while I watched drinking my wine, he took my hand and rubbed it against his stubbled face and I thought about me sitting at the table next to us the week before with the artist who was afraid to speak and afraid of people and afraid of me and how we never had sex because maybe he was afraid of that too and I thought about how people come and go and they are here and they are gone and how each day is so far away from the next.
When I got out of bed I looked at the spot on my sheet that was wet only hours before and saw that the spot had become a faded island surrounded by a blank sheet of ivory-bone. He made sure not to leave anything tangible behind I thought, but then I went to the bathroom and took my robe off and looked at myself in the mirror and saw the two black and blues below the right of my chin and the broken vessel inside my lower lip and the two bruises wrapped around my upper arms. I traced the pink and purple bruise—a stigmata—that was embedded into my skin. I touched it again and I circled the jagged mark and I pressed hard—I felt nothing.
Later that morning when I went to work I had my first session with Irene, her telling me about her brother who beat her, how he said he was going to kill her and my mind forced me back to the night before, of AJ holding the back of my head down while he beat his dick up and down, over my ass, getting ready to penetrate me and I thought about him flipping me over and pinning my arms behind me and pulling and biting at my breasts with his teeth and his mouth and pushing himself into me and I thought I could die right there but I didn’t.
Death never comes easy, you must really fight for it and want it bad enough. What are you going to do, shoot me? Nicole had dared to ask.
I looked up at Irene fidgeting in her chair and shifting her eyes and I asked her if she thought her brother was capable of killing her and she said, Yes, he’s fucking crazy, and a long, drizzle of shiny snot escaped from her right nostril and fell into her mouth. Then Irene left and went back home and I went back to my desk and there was a voicemail from my brother saying that my ex had called him and left him a message, that my ex had been in an accident and broken his collarbone and couldn’t reach me and needs me to call him.
I erase the message and later on my phone rings and it is the guy from the night before — AJ — asking me how I am doing and I tell him about the marks he left on my body. I am so sorry, he tells me. I didn’t want to hurt you, I never wanted to hurt you.
And I tell him it’s OK, I didn’t even feel it. This is the kind of hurt that will be gone in two or three days at the most.