When Alex was fifteen she went to St. Marks to get her clit pierced. She met Bruno at the first shop she walked into, and while he wasn’t willing to do the work (due to her age) he told her he’d be happy to look and tell her if it was possible. She lay down on the table in the back with her jeans around her knees as he examined her for a long time, before finally proclaiming it could be done and she should come back when she was eighteen.
She left with a smile that only faded with time. On her eighteenth birthday she walked down the same block, but this time found another shop hidden behind the fading punk rock stores and the teriyaki bars. They didn’t ask for ID when she unbuckled her jeans, but she only pulled them down far enough to expose the skin beneath the elastic band of her underwear.
She didn’t make a sound during the whole process. Her knuckles turned white and she bit her tongue once, but she was quiet as she watched the man work. When he was done she stood up and walked to the mirror. She smiled as she stared at the red skin covered in dark black ink. Hopefully her mother would never ask.
The word was thick and clear. The letters arched ever so slightly.