Stars, Fingerprints, and Leopard Spots
On Thursday, I was recognizable. Now, I feel transformed.
While walking to the bus stop to catch a ride to class, a guy was loitering in the lobby. He asked me for the time, so I fished for my phone. I knew approximately what time it was (a few minutes before class), but my mind always goes blank when someone asks me to recall it. When I gave him what he wanted, I started out the door.
“You look familiar. Did you go to Southern Utah University?”
He followed me out the door, and I expected him to walk with me to my stop.
“Yeah, I did,” I said. But I looked back, and he’d wandered back to where he was standing. I felt stupid because I wanted to say something like, “Where do I know you from?” or “Yeah, and I live with a fellow SUUer. What’re you doing here?” or “Yeah. And I miss it. But I’m here instead.” But he wasn’t there to continue the conversation.
An hour or two later, I was riding the elevator from that class to which I caught the bus. A man with a Facilities Management shirt was already there. He studied me for a few seconds and then said, “You look familiar.” But he didn’t know from where, and it showed on his face. I filled it in for him, indicating to his shirt. “I worked as a secretary there last summer.” And as I walked out of the elevator, I missed those days.
On Friday, we took advantage of the only break this month and celebrated my birthday a month early. This distracted me from the rigors of the week, and I floated on the enjoyment I got from Stardust.
On Saturday, I joined my aunt, uncles, and father to help Bob and Mary move an entire lifetime of stuff from one house to another. They had flown in from three different places; some bringing family, some coming alone. I enjoyed feeling helpful and productive; I also enjoyed seeing the beauty and freshness of a new home prepared with admiration and appreciation. I enjoyed interacting with the young blood of a three-year-old and the old blood of his grandparents. And in the end, Dad rank all my water and I acquired a lamp I’ve been eyeing for years.
For the rest of Labor Day weekend, the significant other and I went to enjoy the other side of the family: we camped in someone’s backyard at a family reunion. I made some new connections and made my face known to a few more people. And I’m cursed, this time through another white elephant gift, with body wash. I warn you, readers: don’t ever give me body wash. I got a jug of orange stuff for my wedding that remains unopened. I got seven bottles of the stuff for Christmas at Best Buy (though the reaction from a bunch of guys to a Victoria’s Secret box that was its wrapping was worth it) and it’s only diminished by two in six months. And now, I have four bottles of brightly colored, unopened stuff in springy scents. Bah.
But the most lasting thing I got from that event was a bunch of blue spots. Even though we brought mosquito repellent and applied it liberally when we got there and when we woke up the next morning, my sweet blood was still greatly devoured by the little pests. I’m stung in the small areas I didn’t apply repellent: along my hairline on my forehead, my elbows, the white, under-area of my right forearm, and my feet.
Because there are so many that I’ll forget what’s just skin itching or sweat glistening and what’s not to touch, I marked each place a little more prominently. It’s a tactic I learned as a kid: Mark it with pink medicine that doesn’t help much, but the bright color and different texture reminds you like a knock on the head not to itch. And since I hate pink and don’t haveany of the medicine on hand, I used paint. Bright blue paint. The color choice is twofold: I like blue, and I want to pain all the visable skin blue for Halloween this year. I’m inspired by a picture from National Geographic of natives who paint three girls in blue and hand them drums and follow them all throughout town. I’m also inspired by Smurfs and I secretly hope someone will call me that when Halloween comes. But I don’t really know why.
The spots feel invigorating. They make me feel in control of myself. I am now a creature of physical self-restraint. I itch, but I’m marked with stars across my brow and fingerprints down my arm and leopard spots of my feet. I control the swarm around me; no matter what mark they leave on me, I’ll make my own and control it instead. I’m marking people’s memories to be remembered once more, but the blue spots make a more distinct impression in their minds. The spots make me more bold, and make more people whisper. They have an explanation, but only if they have the audacity to ask. And ask away, for I am newly purged.