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She had clutched the lighter on impulse, pulling it from its cozy home in the hidden pocket of her purse. Then all of a sudden, when the casing touched her skin endorphins flowed from the black shell into the subtle creases of her palm. She felt the release and instantaneously regretted the retrieval of her security blanket, but what else could she have done. She gripped the black bic tightly as if she was fearful of dropping it, as if she couldn’t afford the mere 1.65 it cost at any gas station, as if it was her most beloved possession. The smoothness of the plastic transfixed her. It felt unnatural pressed against the roughness of her palm. Her hands were trembling. Her chubby fingers were inappropriate; they didn’t fit in with the rest of her slender form. The pronounced writing callous fastened to the ring finger of her right hand was horrific compared to the gracefulness of her toned dancer’s legs. She never did like her hands, they were the outcasts of her body; a body composed of long lean lines achieved through self-deprivation. But they did so much.
The stress was building up inside of her like plaque forming layer upon layer on uncleaned teeth. Without thought she blindly plucked a half empty pack of camel filters from her purse. Holding one up to her gentle lips she forced herself not to stare at her mangled hands and instead focused on the flickering flame, watching the colors morph from marigold to amber to vibrant crimson. All the while, her hands continued their understated vibrating. Then, without warning the flame vanished leaving behind a faint stench of lighter fluid, her entire ritual had been interrupted. Quickly she dug through her purse until she found a inferior pack of restaurant matches, the edges corroded by stray lip-gloss and the front writing worn away by time, revealing only fragments of the name in flaked white print. Her now pulsating hands efficiently struck one as her lips still gripped the cigarette firmly between each pale pink pillow. At last she was able to light and puff away, but that was not her only concern.
As she inhaled deeply allowing the tobacco to pollute her lungs she let the match continue to burn in her right hand, feeling the sensation of warmness get closer and closer to her deformity. Finally, her hands stopped shaking as the match’s enormous flame engulfed the tender tip of her thumb. She allowed the heat to penetrate any cavity or stretch of skin it wished on her already marred hand until like passion that once burned feverously it died out, and left her with only the comfort of the odor of charred flesh. Then, as if nothing out of the ordinary had transpired, she continued to smoke the camel without trepidation. The only difference in her outward appearance, ignoring her singed hand, was the passion pronouncing itself in the caverns of her eyes, a purely fictional sense of accomplishment, a newfound lust she had gained for herself. And that selfish desire burned like an eternal flame, until the wound had healed and she would be forced to repeat this ritual once again.





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alwalk said...
Oct. 11, 2011 at 12:00 am
very descriptive...... wonderful job
 
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