Neat White Scar


I tell Adam I’ve had several clicks today. More hang-ups to add to the list of recent suspicious hang-ups. I say, ‘One click’s a pranking kid, three’s a few wrong numbers, five’s a technical fault worth reporting, and eight’s an affair.’

Adam stares down at his thumb-nail frowning like he’s annoyed it’s still there, sucking air through his teeth, flicking the top of that thumb-nail with the less annoying one from the other hand, then looks up and says, ‘I’m not interested in your paranoia.’ He goes to the bedroom and closes the door, and I imagine her polishing his jewels while he sings in alto.

I need company. Wearing my long velvet skirt and black boots, I take the lift down, lean in close to study my bug-eyes in the blurry reflective steel door, then head toward the distracting noise and lights of a city by night.

I walk ‘til I know where I’m going, which turns out to be into the same Club I met Adam in last month. I’d watched him on stage playing guitar behind some Reggae-loving Marley impersonator. The place was packed. Adam kept his eyes shut through every number. I thought, I do that too shut myself off in crowds. I pegged him as the deeply-introspective-artistic type. Moved him straight in. Turns out he just strums and sulks. Big disappointment.

I wave at acquaintances. They say I’m welcome with or without Adam. I dance and drink with or without anyone for ages. By midnight there’s only with and no more without, because someone has his arm around my waist. I study him in the muted light. Deep bronze skin, pearls for teeth, a silk ruby scarf around his neck. With my forehead against his shoulder I inhale a cocktail of eastern spices. I’m transported to a temple, see a white tablecloth billowing out and thrown across a table. I am his banquet. He lays me down and feasts on my sweat. A caramel voice brings me back and I look into his smiling black pools of eyes. He’s saying he wants to take me home. ‘No’. Can’t he please buy me a nightcap then? ‘Yes.’

It’s late. I’ve lost my acquaintances. He’s back with drinks. We sit at our table in a loose knot. He loves my long skirt, turns circles with his finger on my velvet covered thigh, which is ok `til I begin feeling unwell. I say I need the ‘ladies’ room, stand, start walking, but everything is wrong and I welcome his steadying arms. I realize my face is numb and I’m not sure I can speak. My legs are fast turning into blocks of wood. I try to say, ‘It’s serious. Call an ambulance.’ He ushers me through the ‘ladies’ door, almost carrying me now, straight into that one larger booth. He drops me onto the seat then locks the door. I can’t move or close my eyes. He unwinds his ruby scarf, pushes it into my mouth, crumples velvet into a ball beneath my waist, reefs up my blouse and bra. And feasts.

I hear and I see, although my gaze is locked to the right. I’m not thinking clearly, but know if I live I’ll need to remember details. There’s a neat white scar beneath his brown ribcage. In my head I repeat, there’s a neat white scar beneath his brown ribcage, again, and again while my head thumps rhythmically against the cistern.

I wake up sprawled in a yellow puddle. Two women are laughing, shaking me, telling me I’m pissed and should take a taxi. I find my voice and say, ‘rape’, then, ‘spiked drink.’ They stop laughing and call the Police.

An examination, a blood sample, an interview, and I’m alive to say, ‘There’s a neat white scar beneath his brown ribcage.’ I’m so proud, I cry.

They have a description, they have sperm, they let me wash. Can they call someone? ‘No. Yes a Taxi.’

I check my bug-eyes in the lift. The bug looks stunned.

The unit’s quiet. Adam’s guitars are missing from the lounge. His clothes are gone. 

I write myself a note HAVE LOCKS CHANGED ASAP and take my bruises to bed.


- Maggie Veness