Before I met her, I thought about getting a tattoo - deep, dark, and near the heart. I thought about a lot of things, then, during high school and shortly thereafter, when I felt the most alone. Many of them were deep and dark as the hypothetical tattoo, none(more) of them that I thought I would ever share with her, not even on rainy days. Before I met her, I wanted ink to penetrate my bones, to settle in my lungs and blot out the inexhaustible exhaustion that each day of drudgery seemed to bring. That was before, and that was after she left.
Some people won't understand what I mean. Some people never will. I suppose it's part of my nature to be so impressionable. Even so, I'm certain the very air changed when she told me her name. For the first time in many years, I felt awake. When I closed my eyes that night, I could feel on my lips the ink that I had inadvertently stored in my marrow all this time, as if deciding against a tattoo had instead etched the blackness inside of me. I could smell the musty, earthy wetness, a physical manifestation of the dark, and the weight of her existence pressing against me.
And despite the heaviness, I woke up light. That's how I knew it was love.(less)
the entirety of my eyes turn black, like pools of ink they well up, swollen to their fullest capacity with the density of nighttime, perfectly reflective, a shape a sound a splinter buried deep within your thumb; every time you run your fingers against the seams of your shirt(more) out of nervous habit, youre reminded of the little invader making its home within you, somewhere. irritation breeds all sorts of nervousness.
the blackness begins dripping down my face like tears. they make strange patterns across my skin as they sink because my skin is imperfect and blotchy and scarred and the blackness loves to highlight those manifestations of insecurity. veins, branches, a virus; it spreads, balls up near the tip of my chin, and drops as heavy rain onto the concrete. the thud upon the pavement. a heavy hand, callous from manual labor, presses upon your shoulder - encouragement as well as discouragement, the world is black and white.
the veins in my forearms are different, right and left. my left arm is also so much darker than my right. at one point the little jelly outlines split into two, but only on my left arm. the right wonders whats wrong with it. i wonder, too. the fans inside all the various running machines in my room make some sort of rainforest background sound and at once i am lost and afraid and far from home.
the blackness digs into my skin, pours into my veins with a swooshing sound and motion, it seeps into my bones and the marrow hidden within it, it is ravenously hungry and ive no defenses against it.
theres a glass tube inside my heart somewhere and if im punched too hard in the chest it will shatter and cause me great pain.
the ink on my palms will not wait for me. the dark india ink runs between the lines of my palms, illuminating the trees etched into them, until it drips, drips, drips between the tiny folds lining the side of my palms and onto my jeans.
i raise m(more)y hands as best as i can, my palms cupping to keep what's left of the ink in them still, and run them down ivan's pink-tinged cheeks.
he stares at me with a strange intensity, his mouth slightly parted, the fog of his breath forming a barrier against any words we might want to say to each other.
i smear whatever ink is on my hands on his face, until he is black and white and pink, until he puts his own hands on my wrists to still them.
"what are you doing," he says, the vapor between us thickening, twisting.
"nothing less than you deserve," i reply, yanking my hands back so he can't touch me, not anymore, never again.
"i swear," he says, "it was one time. one single time."
"that's what you said after you asked me if i loved you. that's what you said after you gave me the ring." the bottle of ink is still in my jacket pocket, cap lose, tilted just enough that the ink can stain my pocket.
"that doesn't mean you have to--shit," he tries to wipe off some of the ink from his face with his hands, but it only smears across his stubble. now his hands are stained too. now everyone can see the stains on his hands. "what is this stuff?"
"it's ink," i say, capping the bottle of ink. "it's only ink." i leave before i can say anything else, the last of our breaths trailing behind(less)
Devon was scared. He had agreed to come on this trip because he thought he could get a lot of weed, for not a lot of money. He hadn't thought he would be sitting down in the thugged out living room of the fucking LA Kings. But he played(more) it cool, hitting the blunt like a man and keeping real quiet.
Squeezed onto the couch with him were two huge chicanos. One was shirtless and sweating, whipping a butterfly knife around with deadly precision. The other was very still with a tear drop tattoo in the corner of his eye.
Devon calmly passed the blunt to the murderer on his left. Brian, his homeboy, had disappeared into a back room with the head honcho nearly an hour ago. Devon made furtive and silent prayers.
Murderer spoke with smoke still sitting in his mouth: "I like you, puta. You don't do nothing stupid, you gonna go far in this world." Devon tried to look him in the eye, but instead his gaze fell directly on the tear drop.
"Oh you like that little man," he said slyly, rubbing his middle finger over the black ink. "You know what that means?" Devon nodded. "Its beautiful, don't you think?" Devon gulped.
"No really, think about it... A gangster offs somebody. Kills a man. Muerto. And he's so cold that he lets everyone know. His moms, his girl, even la policia! That's how much he don't give a fuck!" The murderer gripped the back of Devon's neck and moved in real close.
"But it ain't no hard ass image he chooses to tell his story. It's an image of sorrow, not for the dead man, but for nosotros, the living, because now we truly know how lost our souls are."(less)
What really sucked was when Masayoshi had to wake up extra-early because some photographer wanted to do a sunrise publicity shoot and he completely forgot about it until his alarm went off at quarter till four in the morning. Gotou didn't even open his eyes, he just shoved Masayoshi(more) out of bed and buried his head under the pillow, going straight back to sleep.
Masayoshi stood under the shower head and tried to wake up. He was sore - it was a good kind of sore, though, and not the sort that would inhibit him at work - and as he washed himself he realized that they had been a little bit rougher last night than he remembered.
He brushed his hand down the inside of his thigh, over the darkening bruises there and smiled. Gotou would be so upset if he saw them, he hated the thought of hurting Masayoshi in the slightest. The bruises didn't hurt though, not anymore than his hips did - it was hard getting through to Gotou that he wasn't fragile, that he wasn't something that would break easily and he could take pretty much anything Gotou threw at him. Maybe Gotou was finally starting to understand that.
The water ran cold and Masayoshi remembered he really didn't have that much time to be philosophical in the bath. If he didn't get to the pick-up point Ishihara WOULD come bang on Gotou's door, and if Masayoshi was still in the bathroom Gotou WOULD answer the door naked and growling and he wouldn't be able to look Ishihara in the eye for a week.
He hurriedly dried his head and got dressed - Gotou muttered something so Masayoshi lifted the pillow and kissed the top of Gotou's sleepy head. "Love you," he said, and grinned.(less)
They use hard sticks filled with a synthetic sort of dark liquid to take notes, he notes. He only watches them when their back is toward him, when he can freely roll onto his side and prop himself on an elbow and watch without blinking. But as soon as(more) they notice, and he feels them noticing, he returns to lounging and looking up at the ceiling above him. Why do they need to use the grainy, uneven-textured substance, anyway? When shiny black ichor runs down the side of the wall under his nook. It's proper to ask, but they don't know how to ask.
They desperately want to study the slick dark liquid pooling in the ridge in the floor at the base of the wall, that runs in rivulets down its sides, dripping off the chaise from where his distinguishable shape gives way to writhing shadows. But the caretakers of the place, infrequent and hushed, always appear just in time to prevent them from sampling any. And whenever they try to speak and ask him if they could take a sample, they find their voice has gone missing. The domed round room with its iridescent walls seems to absorb sound before it's made. This is a room of balance.
The two watch each other in turns, shifting and pacing around each other, catching glimpses of the other's eyes out of the corner of their own eyes. The clock ticks on.
"The ink is running toward the page, it's chasing off the days..."(less)
Yukari was lying on her back on the floor of Mitsuru's room, a sheet spread out beneath her and Mitsuru kneeling at her side, holding a calligraphy brush in her hand. "That's such a nice brush," Yukari said, hyperfocusing on it to keep her mind off the way her(more) skin was tingling with anticipation. "Are you sure you want to use it for...?"
"I can always buy another brush," Mitsuru said, a smile playing on her lips. She used her free hand to sweep Yukari's hair back from her face, then leaned down and kissed her cheek, close to her ear. "It'll be worth it."
Yukari shivered as Mitsuru withdrew, turning to the bowl and bottle she'd laid out. Soy sauce was the best option out of what was available in the dorm's kitchen; Yukari had suggested chocolate, but Mitsuru pointed out that it would clump up in the brush. Mitsuru poured the soy sauce into the bowl, then dipped the brush into it, a thoughtful expression on her face.
She wrote Yukari's name first, the simple strokes of the hiragana standing out on the flesh of Yukari's stomach. It was the first time Yukari had ever thought the characters of her name looked beautiful, and she marveled at it for a moment before Mitsuru leaned down and licked the soy sauce away with her tongue. Yukari trembled and squeezed her eyes shut, the sensation curling around inside her like a snake coiling.
Mitsuru wrote her own name next, all 30 strokes, the 9 in "beautiful" and the 21 in "crane." The soy sauce was cold on Yukari's burning skin, and Mitsuru was drawing each stroke more slowly than the last. "I've claimed you," she breathed after she finished, leaning in to wash the characters away with her tongue.(less)