Sunday, June 21, 2009

Photo Story: Injection

by M. M. Garcia

“I could have been a cutter,” I think as I slid the needle into the rubber-tipped vial. Pulling back the plunger slowly, I am fascinated by the rush of liquid into the vial. If you pull it too fast, air floods in first; trapping itself at the top of the syringe, and causing the medicine to take on the fizzy aspect of a shaken up soda bottle.

You have to flick the syringe with your fingers to make the bubbles disperse. This is what you always see heroin addicts doing on television dramas. I have always wondered why. Now I know.

“Needles don’t bother me. They never have,” I say.

“Is that weird?” I ask.

I wonder why it is that I seek approval for everything. Not approval so much as an acknowledgement of who I am. Eccentric or strange or banal or just somewhere, lost, in between. I like needles and I want you to know it. I want you to tell me that this is odd, strange, interesting, or utterly repellent – I just need a reaction of some kind.

“Yeah,” you say, “I don’t really like them so much.” You turn away as I pinch up a small mound of flesh, take aim and pierce. Medicine rushes in to heal, but of course, you can't feel that part.

“I like to watch when the phlebotomist draws my blood,” I say knowing that I’m digging a pit with my voice. My words are a shovel, pushing ever downward. Sometimes I’m like that. I know I should stop talking, but the talk just keeps coming until I’m knee deep in something that belongs inside my head and not out here on the floor.

And the worst part is I can’t even get it all out. I can’t even say what I’m really thinking—that once you cultivate a taste for pain, that condition is always with you. I have it with me, just under the surface like the blood that rushes back up into the syringe. Even though I know it’s there, I never think about it until something brings it oozing back up to the surface.

Then I remember: I am only happy when it hurts. I am most alive when a needle pierces my skin, when the blade slides across my arm, when I’ve run so far that I can’t breathe, and the pain pushes through my insensitivity.

I guess that makes you just another pointy object. I let you poke through the flesh and into the the dark recesses, drawing out what's underneath, but only because I’m a masochist. Only because I like to bleed.

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