exit wound

the important things go unsaid, like, i went to the piercing shop to get my cartilage piercings looked at, then they took my infected jewelry out of my pus-encrusted ear. the whole time i was thinking “good riddance,” shivering horribly while my piercer cooed nonsense like, “oh, that was in your body” as if he were miming cunnilingus, very medically vague at that. i suppose the masochistic desire for fleshly puncture is not so different from the carnal desire for orificial penetration.

whenever i say the word penetration, i think about my ex-best-friend krista. we used to have a joke about penetration, but i don’t tell it anymore because it makes me too sad. basically the premise was that we understood implicitly the violence of heterosexual sex, both of us being straight-coded semi-gay girls. the premise was also that we understood the catch-22 of being a hypersexualized east asian femmes trying to, you know, rock it. reclaim it or something. i forget.

i got my infected piercings done with krista in st. marks, at a piercing shop called ‘elite’. it was more cube than shop, but it was much nicer than any of the other ones on the street, so we, with our bourgeois sensibilities, had no other choice. in retrospect i would have said to my 19 year old self, never trust cubical chic. and, do not aspire to be a member of the ruling class. but i didn’t know what i do now, which is that my friendship with krista was much like the to-be-infected piercings. a bad trip that turns progressively worse. i think, now, that the piercings were the beginning of the end.

after he took out my blood-rusted jewelry, my piercer scraped the inside of my ear with a gauze pad and applied dabs of medicinal gel. i could feel something oozing in my ear, but i was afraid of asking too many questions. those piercers know what they’re doing, and they don’t like it when you try to assert yourself. krista was always very good at asserting herself while pretending that she wasn’t, but i was always the more verbally abrasive one. it was very easy to play good cop, bad cop that way. a slap on the wrist, in goes the needle. almost painless. but now i was by myself; there was no needle going in, only dubiously rusted gold coming out. i pinched my forefinger, but it did nothing to stop the pain. krista had asserted her way out of my life, leaving only a bad exit wound behind.

i saved the jewelry, even though my piercer told me not to. i remember thinking, what a waste my 20s are.

suiyi tang