By Lily Mulholland
Sarah had saved the new skin for a special occasion, growing it with the obsessive care of an orchidist. Determined to keep it blemish free, she had kept her left arm encased in cotton for the past two weeks. She wanted nothing to spoil its pearlescent purity.
But today had arrived and after school Sarah locked her bedroom door. She prised up a loose floorboard, revealing a cavity housing a small black tin, from which extruded two long tails of scarlet ribbon. She grasped a tail in each hand and gently pulled up the tin from its repository. Sitting on her bed, Sarah placed a black towel across her lap and opened the tin, selecting the new scalpel she’d stolen last week from art class.
Today was the day she’d been dreading for weeks and she’d used up all her willpower just making it through the day. She’d been holding on tight, knowing release would come as soon as she could escape home. Laying her left arm upon her lap, Sarah drew the surgical steel across the milky white skin of her inner forearm, pinking pearls of blood in its wake. As the red lines began their scarlet dance, she breathed out the tension that had been consuming her for weeks.
Sarah had performed at the school concert, been showered with praise and told what a clever girl she was. ‘Such a beautiful, confident girl’, she’d heard the teachers say to her parents. ‘Oh yes, that’s our girl.’ She laughed bitterly. They knew nothing about her. And she liked it that way.
(Photo: Peg Essert)