Dear X,

    Your mum told me what happened, told me what you have been doing, in secret. She asked if I had any experience with that, in a Good Will Hunting kinda-way.

    The mottled surface of the wall in the bedroom, like creased and crinkled skin. Most days its not prominent, but some mornings when the sun is rising, especially in winter, the light hits the surfaces and looks like a scar, macro, zoomed-in.

    I was in Athen’s last year, working. On the way home to the apartment I decide to make the journey to the top of Mount Lycabettus in central Athens to watch the sunset. The hill, a feral scrubland with a switch back stepped path leading to a small church and cafe at the hill top. The path is lined the whole way with dense cacti growth. The Cacti close to the path are the site of a cut graffiti, their palms having been lacerated and scribed in to with sharp utensils. These scabbed over, discoloured and dried out marks have messages in both the Greek and Roman alphabet, including initials, hearts, love signs, anarchist slogans. The cacti struggle in late summer becoming shrivelled, fruit fallen, with whole areas turning bleached grey as they dying off. The marks they sustain, these cuts and scars, appear pained and overlooked as the view they line is spectacular, hazed in late summer, bridging autumn.

    Earlier, summer, in a fish and chip shop in Clacton-Upon-Sea, on Essex coastline, I saw a women. Physically impaired by size, she wore a t-shirt in the heat, revealing skin. Her right forearm was a purple grey mass of laceration scars, the result of having repeatedly cut deep in to a large tattoo, now completely illegible. Those thick inked inches, beyond blurred had become a colour one doesn’t usually see on the surface of a body. A great knot, a violent welts, like a slashed dried piece of dow, like a fucking dead body. A body cut up, eviscerate, not living, that arm, a real body flayed. She had many other cutting scars, but I don’t remember them specifically. No one else I was with noticed as I sat with friends unable to eat from a hang over and too much unexpected sun. I felt admiration, I wanted to say bravo, you are fucking doing it, you are a pioneer, finding the edges of this activity.

    © 2020