The mark is not disappearing. I can’t stop staring at it – a thick, jagged “X” in black, off-centered on the back of my right hand.  It’s almost as if the mark was taken from another world and branded onto my hand, as my own. My goodness, why can’t I wash it off? It sticks out its sharp tongue with a red, dangerous smile, laughing at me for trying to hide it. Erasing this is impossible. I look over to my left and see a hand clean, untainted, and glowing. I look to my right and see a bold, outrageous one, pale in comparison. I wish they were both shining goodness. I follow from my right hand to my forearm and up to my shoulder. I know it isn’t, but I think this arm is dying. My left tries to regain control, all the way from my hand to my chest, but my right overpowers it. My gaze falls upon the mark on my right hand, and I recall its birth from several nights before on a dark, empty street in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

            The sound of a bell resounds from a tower nearby on a Tuesday, flowing through the lifeless street as I nervously trek towards my first night club experience. Many people may not think going to a club is a big deal, but for me it’s like jumping into sewage with my nicest clothes on. I’m not one of those people that go out on nights just to get drunk and “have fun.” If people were honest, they would probably testify to how good of a person I am. But anyways, weirdly, everything is still, except for the occasional flickering of hazard lights from an unoccupied car. Even the red lights above road intersections forever stop, hanging in the space above. It’s crazy, I know, but I keep looking frantically around me to assure security. Just when I think the area is clear, I hear the rattling of metal chains, and sense a person about to attack me. I look back with breath held. With a sigh of relief, I see a student running with a heavy backpack in the direction opposite to me, and I continue forward in worry. My heart pounds rapidly as I arrive at the street of my destination. I stop in my tracks as I look with contempt into the distance and see the sign of the night club, protruding its uniqueness with an enticing orange light, “NECTO.”

Continue reading