The Depths of Deception
by Ian Fraser
Despite appearances, the following extract describes emotional pain.
Deep wounds are an educational process. It begins with the realization that a piece of flesh is gone and will never return. The body knows it has been disfigured; the conscious mind must be restrained from self-disgust, and the continual pain must be perceived as merely signals from torn nerve receptors. The jagged perimeter of the wound and its exposed tufts of severed muscles flex perpetually – an internal forest of scratching claws. The nostrils enter the picture; one becomes accustomed to the metallic tang of an open wound.
Deep wounds require daily attention; their owner becomes intimate with its crevices. Few wounds are symmetrical, each has unique features. Lubricated with saline, the fingertips must slide into the wound and pat it with dressings to dry the exposed layers. From doing this, a familiarity comes. The glistening flesh becomes a landscape of points and indicators on a map. Here is blissful nothingness; there a stabbing pain makes the world darken. The secret artwork of the body’s interior is displayed in the wound: vermillion streaks of raw flesh, the tempura brilliance of exposed muscles and tendons.
The owner of a deep wound learns that skin itself is a liquid as the body attempts to seal deep holes with viscous fluid. But when too much flesh has been lost, the body gives up trying to use the seeping liquid. Dark-brown purple clots start gathering like barnacles around the wound’s perimeter. The slowly-shrinking wound resembles the iris of a camera lens, or a dark clotting sphincter. Finally, once this growth is complete, the body abandons the interior crater, a pocket of liquid hidden by a thin veneer. Some catastrophic wounds can never heal.
These are my scars. This is my blood. This is my body.