Blood On Her Mind

Tonight she cannot sleep because there is blood on her mind. It's on her hands as well and on her nails. Pretty soon the sheets she wraps herself in will be stained with it and sweat; then the stench will fill up the room with sour, tangy vengeance.

They were pink this morning, her hands and nails, but now there's red to show underneath the paint and sludge she covers her appendages with so that they are merely long and oily instead of long and chapped. The ad-woman says it's hard to keep hers smooth and attractive. On nights like this, with the iron taste on her tongue, the redness on her body, she can almost believe that, she can almost bring herself to trust the ad-woman and her perfection. On nights like this, every woman she knows is ugly.

Her mind was pink as well, but now it's black because the blood has clotted and rotted and darkened and hardened and cracked and peeled and fell apart and clogged her heart. There's an attack coming, down veins constricted with doubt, constructed with pills, connected with fear. There's another hour to last. Sleep has yet to claim her.

The blood is on her mind and it won't let go. It gets underneath her nails, her skin, it tangles in her hair. It has even found its way between her thighs, in that special place where she hoards. The blood between her thighs is different. As it slowly meanders downwards, it rubs against the things she hid in there. This is woman-blood and at least this she knows for sure it's her own to claim and give. When her grandfather looks at her, she has this small comfort. He cannot take the blood between her thighs.

She doesn't see him often and every time she does he is darker than the last or maybe she is the one who is getting whiter, with every moment spent away from that house skinning her alive so that what he sees when he looks at her is not flesh but bones. He hates her whiteness, she can tell. Lately, her grandfather has started dying and as his cancer eats him up from the inside the spaces it leaves behind are filled with this hatred and repugnance. One day he will die. His epidermis will burst open like a balloon and grandfather's necrosis, his cancer and his filth, will flood the house.

Today was not that day and tomorrow isn't either. His eyes had not decayed. They had watched her quietly and told her: you stole this body. And she had looked back at him and saw her whiteness staring back at her and she had hung her head in shame. You stole that hair you straighten, you stole those eyes you hide, you stole those nails you smother with paint, you stole this body which was not yours to give. And she'd like to show him her special place where she hoards her womanhood. The heels, the lipstick, the sludge she uses because the ad-woman tells her to. And also her skin and her eyes and her hair. They are in there, too, next to the rest. They're a bit chapped, a bit red and her roots aren't quite right, but they're in there. She wants him to see that, to see her roots in there, to see the things that grow inside her and not her bleached bones covered in sludge. She wants to scream: this is my body and this is the blood between my thighs and they are not yours to take. She doesn't. She is not so sure about her body, not convinced that she has not forfeited her right to claim and give it on that first summer her grandfather had started darkening. She is sure about the blood. Still, she cannot shake the feeling that ownership over her womanhood was not something she has received in full. On nights like this, she thinks no woman has.

The blood is on her mind and sleep has yet to claim her.

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Ilinca N
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