Curious bruises crop up in curious places on me all the time. At any given time, I have all kinds of marks that I have no recollection of earning.
I’m a fairly clumsy person, and always have been. As a result, I rarely mark the moment contact is made. It happens too often to keep track. I’ll forget that I walked into a table or a desk or my bed frame. I’ll forget that the corner of a box I was moving scraped me hard enough to leave behind a little arc of a contusion beneath the skin. I’ll forget when a lover leaves a very obvious bite mark on my neck or collar bone. I’ll forget that the grocery bags pinched my bare thigh just so on the walk home.
I bruise like a peach yet throw myself around like a basketball. It’s not logical. It’s just who I am.
But I’ve always found these minor cuts and bruises to be an odd source of pride. During my time as an avid competitor in a combative sport, I would go so far as to deliberately wear clothes that showed off my battle wounds when I was outside the ring. I was shy; my markings were not.
I might not kick my opponents down anymore, but I still appreciate a good shiner. I just collect them in the bedroom rather than on the mat now. In either case, the marks become both victory trophies and stark reminders of the high I active chased, and how well I performed to earn them.
I’ll lazily poke at the hardened, discoloured flesh to stir up latent soreness, to relive the experience all over again, to enjoy the niggling sensation of discomfort somewhere it doesn’t belong (and doesn’t make itself known until you apply the right amount of pressure at the proper angle).
One bruise, in particular, stands out to me right now. It was in the early days of last summer. A Thursday morning, I believe. I got to work at the regular hour, sat down at my desk, and went “what the…?”
No one else had arrived at the office yet. I rubbed softly at the sensitive spot, through my jeans, on the meat of my left butt cheek, and found a considerable hard lump hiding under my layers of denim ad flesh.
It seems I had collected a souvenir.
I know it sounds like a spin on literary cliché, but I swear: I genuinely forgot how hard that bite had been until I sat down on it. In fact, I’d forgotten the bite ever happened until I sat down. But as soon as I did, I was transported to a film reel of the night before…
Being taken rather gruffly in my dimly living room, bent over the ledge of the sofa. I’d somehow managed to knock the frames from the wall while my lover knelt between my legs spread wide and devoured me more ravenously than they ever had on any prior occasion. I had the audacity to get a little bratty and tried to wriggle free of their generous onslaught. That earned me an expertly struck spanking and a ferocious bite in the same place. It didn’t break the skin, (not that I’d have noticed at the time) but it sent me to the next plane of delirium. They noticed my response, in that I barely made a sound and just melted away for a moment. They immediately brought me back to reality with a stern curt command to sit up and dragged me, quite literally, to the bedroom where we would have more room to tumble.
My reverie broke when my coworkers started to arrive. Much later, when I went to use the bathroom for totally innocent reasons, I checked the state of my backside in the mirror. The colours had not yet deepened. Only light blues and pinks had risen to the surface so far. But I knew that would change by the end of the day. I could feel the grooves of two mirrored arches to match two rows of enthusiastic teeth. Several more had been planted along the inner seams of my thighs.
It wasn’t until I was washing my hands that I found a similar, albeit much darker trail of marks lining the length of my neck. I laughed to myself and beamed with a mixture of pride and want for more.
With the marks that are there for all to see, l’ll show off with a certain audacity. But the ones that are hidden hold the power of a secret. They’re special, something you get to keep all to yourself and whoever shared it with you. But at the same time, it bursts and swells under the pressure, begging for attention because it knows it won’t get any.
No one asked about the neck marks.
But I guess I can let you in on the secret now.
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