Thursday, April 12

Bloody Statues All

There was a kind of showdown between two gangs outside the window. (Young) men walking down the alley next to the housing block and I rested my elbows on the sill. Their shouts got all up in the night like fireworks. I thought—Hmm, what will happen here? They went into the car park opposite, lots of shouting back & forth. Nothing happened (and an hour later there were no police to speak of, so I assume it all ended well). As I watched, listened for something, I recoiled from my own skull as my eye stung. Raising a hand, I paused. It would be unclean of me to touch my own skin.
You see, on Sunday, I noticed that my right eye had become irritable. Ah, it is just dust from the cleaning, I thought, but just rubbing it gave me pangs of pain all round my socket. On Monday morning I saw that it was swollen and pronounced in red. I was quite unsightly. I got ready for work, making sure my shirt was correctly buttoned and my hair set just right and I left. The next morning (Tuesday) it was worse. The eye was protruding from my face. I could not open it properly and all day it wept as if it knew something sad. I did not mind looking quite so ugly; at first it was unpleasant, yes, but then I grew used to it, carrying on as though it were normal. I have always had this bastard eye.
For a few days this continued—
Waking up every morning with it more swollen and my vision more obscured. Walking to work I would dab the tears away with a Kleenex. It was my eye and it was backfiring. Don’t touch it. Wash it several times a day with soap and warm water. My friend’s wife told me—‘You should rub it with a gold ring.’ I told her I did not own any gold. ‘Black tea then.’ I had no black tea to speak of.
I came away from the window, flinching with pain. My eye had reached some kind of tipping point. There was something, microscopic, scratching my eyeball and I value my eyeballs so I went to the mirror. Underneath my possessed & pink eyelid there was a whitehead.
So this is where I stand now.
I have had acne my entire adult life – acne vulagris the doctor called – so I am quite used to this kind of thing; but never, in these sixteen years, have I had a spot underneath my eyelid. As far as acne was concerned, I thought the eye was sacred ground, like the genitals or feet. When I looked at my eye in the mirror, close up, I could still hear the gangs shouting through my window: expletives impacting bold. The eyelid held a mighty whitehead beneath it and if I pulled my lashes I could see it quite clearly; rolling wet red skin; skin never meant to experience the dozy pressure of atmosphere. The pus was just below the surface. How slim that sheet of skin between the infection and I! Pulling the lid against the eye, it burst. The yellow pus oozed out over my eye, distorting my vision. The abrasion of toilet-paper against the eyeball, that ocular bulge of the brain, caused me to wince. The pus soaked in. I squeezed it further still. Eventually all the pus was expelled and then—
I know this clear liquid but not its name.
And then—
Blood! sweet blood! tasting like a zipper! It ran out and dressed my eye. O, how I wished for a photographer to turn up with a suitable lens and capture this. Blood ran out of my eye. I squeezed and the blood ran. I was a statue of the Virgin Mary. I stood there for a moment, ignoring the tickle of blood down my cheek. The mirror and the gangs, the shouting and scuffles. I watched the blood leak out of my eye. Through my one good eye, I saw the blood run down my face and felt like a religious figure, a perfect example of purity! The cracking red skin of my lashed eye rubbed and fidgeted. I squeezed it more and wet blood ran forth and I knew that the pus had all gone.
Now the pain of the opening in my skin was abrasing my eyeball. The gangs were still fighting and shouting at each other outside. As my eye ran tears, I watched and thought that I would eat dinner soon. They were really angry at one another. Something would happen soon. The police never came. Maybe my eyelid would go down by the morning.

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