I've Never Liked Needles

I've Never Liked Needles

Tincture is a fun word to say aloud.
It sounds medieval, something a
witch would use. Maybe this

acupuncturist is a Wiccan. Who else
would put needles in the corner of
your eye and bottom of your foot?

Only a devil worshiper would do
such things. Okay, calm down. Calm
down. Calm down.

Maybe letting my ex-girlfriend
give me a discounted session
wasn’t such a good idea. I see the

needles gleaming in the candlelight
as she asks me about any problems
I’m having sexually? Everything’s

fine, I say. Really? she says. Yeah, I
say, focusing on the choice of music
she’s selected. A bubbling brook has

turned into a wailing, dying, desperate
violin. As she inserts more needles I
ponder the time that I told her she

was too selfish to have children. And  
the night her estranged mother died I
didn’t go over to her apartment to

comfort her because I had to work late,
and she hated her mother so it didn’t
really matter, right? The time I showed

up drunk to her sister’s rehearsal
wedding dinner because I’d had a work
party before that event and drank way

too much. I’m not proud of those moments.
But I’ve grown; I’ve matured.  We’ve both

grown. She told me she was in a really
good place right now, as she put some
needles into my forehead. Will anyone

hear my screams in this building? The
candles could tip over and light a fire.
 I’d have to pull out what needles I could

and try to escape.  What if I didn’t get all
the needles? What if I drive the needle in
my foot further in, deeper?  How is

everything? she says, as the violin reaches
a crescendo. Relaxed? Yep, I say.  I’m going
to go work on your tincture, she says, and

closes the door behind her. Tincture, I say
aloud. Tincture is a fun word. I’m going to
say that aloud for forty-five minutes to

keep me calm. Tincture, I say. Tincture,
tincture. Tincture, I yell. Tincture!