By Sigge S. Amdal © 2006
The skin around my nails was always hard and white. You could pull off chunks, but it wouldn't bleed noticeably, and another layer would grow. I could never stop picking it.
It was a Friday evening it happened. I wasn't going out, but my body ached for a drink. I came down to the subway station - it's more of a stop really - and a group of outgoing types, boys and girls dressed up and slightly drunk were standing there. This type always stands exactly where the first or second door will stop, at the first cart, as if the guy running the train would care if they got beat up or mugged or something. As if the only thing separating these frail, delusional, television-bred, spoiled and arrogant kids from the wild night they knew was out there - 'cause they'd seen it in the news - as if this guy, quite their opposite was their only shred of civilization in an evening we all know is driven by the passions of men and lure of women.
Even if something had happened, something as unlikely as these kids ever waking up from their dreams, he wouldn't have lifted a finger. He took care of his own.
There was a little rain, but not uncomfortable.
I chose to stand where the end of the train would be, like I always do. I'm mostly left alone back there, ever since the newspapers had a story running about a rapist who would sit at the back of the train, picking out his victims. Timetable Tom.
That's when I felt an eerie tingling sensation at the base of my left thumb.
I was looking at two of the boys. One of them had kicked the other in the crotch, and now it was the other guy's turn to get to know the inner fire lit by the spark of passion. Even though it was the passion of hurt. MTV turns young kids into sadists.
But soon the sensation in my thumb had receded from a throbbing, and it felt as if it gushed cold, and I realized I couldn't feel it any longer.
Blood had rushed out of it, like the last rats to leave a ship, and now the captain was going down.
I glanced at the group. I recognized a few wondering stares. They were afraid of me, I knew that, but now their looks were coloured by curiosity, too.
A cold sweat of fear caused a quick tremble, and they turned away from my eyes; I couldn't ask them for help, they would run anyway. I kept my trembling hand to the side. Out of view, out of shame, and I awkwardly lit a cigarette, looking down when I could.
From one of the cracks in the tough skin I thought I glimpsed something. Now, it could have been a raindrop reflecting the light from the lamp on the other side of the street for an instant, but I think to this day that what I saw was something alive. Something that had been inside of me.
A chill ran through me, and I stepped sideways to see if I could see what it had been. I saw nothing. One of the guys shouted something and the girls laughed nervously. I hurled around, but they turned their backs on me.
One of them gave me a thumbs up, but a girl pulled down his hand and quickly glanced at me, before scorning him in hushed, controlled whispers.
The train was about to arrive. I stroked my thumb with my left index finger, and could barely hear the sound of flesh falling from bone when it amputated, above the sound of the train.
It fell into a little puddle. I stretched out instinctively, picked it up and put it hurriedly in my pocket, and kept my hand there. I suppressed my panicking breath.
I caught one of the girls gaping at me, but she looked away quickly.
The train arrived, I got on the second last cart, and I didn't dare to look at it before I was well home - beyond the gaze of others.
Sigge S. Amdal is a word wanker from Oslo, Norway.