Sometimes when we need something badly, something that does not exist, we take great measures to create it. What was merely a possibility becomes an ontological necessity, a necessity which tampers with our very being to the extent that we cease to be, if only with respect to ourselves.
In the morning after a troublesome night, she had woken up and brazenly walked nude in the apartment. Her partner, K— was bemused by the obscure spectacle: obscene columns, trotting like a moving exhibition; a moving image of saggy skin, droopy dog ass-cheeks, and unkempt hair. K— could smell the coffee and the eggs. Another one of those days, he thought.
He got out of bed with a t-shirt in his hand which bore her name, Hanna, in red, foregrounding an orange background. He gave it to her as he greeted her with the customary morning hug and the kiss on the neck. Hanna felt the moisture of the kiss like a mark which burned her and reduced her to a mere thing. At that moment, she didn’t appreciate the feeling of being marked by saliva. K—had washed up and sat down by the time Hanna finished cooking breakfast. Hanna was yet to wear something except the t-shirt, her legs uncovered, and her saggy ass-cheeks exposed as she sat down next to him.
“I’m going to erase everything,” she told him as he sipped some coffee, his mouth already stuffed with ketchup-laden fried eggs, but he didn’t focus too much on her as much as he did on his bloody eggs and black coffee. “Please, listen to me,” she said, getting up to grab a tissue. She proceeded to wipe off the smeared ketchup stuck on the edge of his lower lip. “I need to erase everything. This is just unbearable.” But he wouldn’t listen, his mouth preoccupied with the food, his eyes preoccupied with her half-naked body. He ate and fantasized.
“Don’t we have orange juice?” he asked, almost rhetorically, without looking at her face.
She gave out a garish sigh, staining her face with red frustration. But she still succumbed to his request. She opened the fridge and took out a transparent jug filled with crimson liquid inside.
“Blood oranges. Okay, yeah that will do.” She poured him a glass of the diluted redness.
“I squeezed them yesterday night, before you came back,” she said, her voice now low, the utterance of her faded spirit. He didn’t respond, food taking precedence, so she got up and went to the room, pulling the t-shirt down as much as possible to cover her obscene columns, to hide them from his now-penetrating and voyeur gaze. Standing in front of the mirror in the room, she saw what she needed to erase; the various marks which she had proudly displayed to the world as if they were messages made in flesh, a violent transcription of identity. Tattoos, iron branding burn marks, piercings, and cicatrisation scars. Sentences covered her body, forcing a definition upon her skin, a superficial surface which she now regarded as alien, and as such, she wished it to be under erasure.
K— entered the room having finished eating and cleaned up. He saw her look at herself, dazzled, and he misinterpreted her motionless body. He smiled and approached her from behind, put his arms around her, and tried to sway her body left and right as if music was being played somewhere, but she resisted now.
“What’s wrong?” he was alarmed.
“I’m going to erase everything,” she said, obstinate and determined.
“Yes everything, these, those, all of this,” she took of the t-shirt which bore her name and brushed her palms all over her body. “I’m going to erase what people think is me. I’m going to erase my name. I’m going to erase these misleading signs.”
“What’s going on?”
“Nothing is going on. I just don’t want them anymore.”
“’But you can’t just do that. It’s not as easy as you think. It’ll take a lot of time. Just calm down, forget this. Get dressed and let’s go out. By the end of the day, this phase or whatever it is, it would’ve passed,” he told her before cynically uttering words to himself, “Erasure she says.”
“No. When I’m walking down the street, when I’m meeting with friends, when I’m meeting new people, when I’m on the beach, just enjoying the sun, when I’m everywhere, even here with you, who is being there? What is being there? These signs? These marks and modifications of my body or me?”
He looked confused and gave her a confused look, what’s the difference? Running through his head, but fear of exacerbating her condition restrained him from commenting.
“Exactly. People associate these with me,” she said, “and I won’t have that anymore. I’m going to erase.” She expelled him out of the room with feminine fury and he could not but succumb.
She locked herself in the room all day long, covering tattoos with permanent markers, removing all her jewellery: the snugs on both her ears, the weaved earring on her right ear, the helix on her left ear, the button protruding from her cheek, and the glistening tiny gem on her nose. But soon, she realized that although she needed to erase, she could not remove the scars or get rid of the tattoos without further marking her skin. She crawled into bed again and strongly pressed the bed covers on her alien body, the idea of erasure still in her head.
She heard the door open and thought it was K— who walked in, stealthily, being considerate for her apparently sleeping body. But soon, she felt something press on her, something pushing her and shoving her. She looked around in terror but found no one, and yet she was still being pushed and shoved, and now she felt she was falling, but she was still in bed, the room cloistering her as it always has. A strong pressing feeling came over her body in a splitting second forcing her to close her eyes. The pressing feeling travelled over her body like a chilly breeze. She felt hands all over her, some pulling, others pushing. She couldn’t open her eyes, but she felt it, her complete loss of control; and soon, every ounce of energy left her, and what she couldn’t see, but what overwhelmed her, had finally drowned her.
In the morning, she woke up, and while washing up, she couldn’t recognize herself in the mirror. A different face, different hands, different breasts; a completely different body, taller, thinner. Was it horrifying? Or satiating? There were no tattoos, no cicatrisation scars, no signs of piercings. It was as if she were born anew. When k— woke up and looked at her, his gaze was not different. She did not know what the others saw, and from then on, she couldn’t recognize herself ever again.