Thumbnail, skin, anomalous: friction, pulling, pain. Eradicate. Eliminate. Pull – twist – tear.
Open. Bleeding. Wells up, dark red, shining. (Hold. Squeeze. Fingers a tourniquet around the thumb.)
Liquid garnet, round and smooth, resting on the brim of the nail. (Watch it. Watch it. Think of blood, and watch it grow.)
(Here, here in this blood, there is safety. Here, here in this blood, there is no sound, no light, no chaos, no discomfort. Here, here in this blood, there is a perfect place in which I fit into this world.)
It springs up, growing, clinging, and it does not fall. Thick and dark, it coats the thumb with red.
(Trapped, corner space, people on either side. Cannot run. Cannot escape. Only watch, and hold, and hide inside the blood. Wait. Wait. Do not touch – let it rest, let it grow, let it begin to dry. Wait.)
When they leave, clear the space, allow for movement – move down the bench, holding the thumb, not allowing it to spill, to stain.
At once, a voice: “Is that ketchup on your thumb?”
Half-grin, half-amused, half-confused. Answer, without thinking, honestly:
“Do you really think I’d be this calm if I had ketchup on my hand?”