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My eyes shot open, several moments later my eyelids slowly began to come together with exhaustion and weariness. You know that feeling when you have an absolutely fucked sunburn and just the intensity of it disrupts your entire state of slumber? You slowly begin to sit up as you feel sweat glide down the flesh on your back. You stare at your pillow and notice that white pillow cover is dampened to a shade of gray. You slide your hand across the couch cushion as you feel it gradually becoming colder as your sweat seeps into the fabrics.
Okay, so I stayed at the beach for six hours. With no sunblock.
The entire process of a sunburn is total bullshit. Pain, exhaustion, and a very messy shedding episode. It always was a very confusing thought to me- the fact that your skin just peels off, that is. I was always somewhat interested in my dead skin whenever I would tug at it. The feeling you get when the skin slides off, the sound it makes, etc.
I know that's very odd, but it's also very, very cool.
This sunburn was a very dark situation. My legs were cherry-red from the foot to the kneecap. And my arms, torso, and back were glowing with crimson. My face was also pretty damn red, but the face is never really a bother for me.
It hurts to walk. Whenever my foot would hit the ground, I just felt this sizzling sensation on every single inch of my body. It was absolutely horrible. The reason why I hate sunburns, is because you can't focus when you have one. You're either too itchy, too fucking pissed off, or too sweaty. You can't even sleep.
Taking a shower with a sunburn is always a terrifying process. Well, it is for me, that is. Under the circumstances that my plumbing is absolute shit, it doesn't matter whether the knob is on red or on blue. The temperature of the water has a mind of its own. And there will be times when I'm feeling the fantastic relief of cold water extinguishing your burnt skin, when suddenly, the temperature will abruptly shift to the least level of warmth- but mix mild warmth with a sunburn, and you feel like you're fucking melting. And then there's the process of having to be extremely delicate when you're drying yourself off with a towel, because wiping your body down with a towel when you have a sunburn is the equivalent of trying to dry yourself off with a fucking cheese grater.
So here I am. Wide awake, slouched over, sitting on the edge of my bed. Trying my hardest to disregard the sensations piercing my flesh. My right knee is hopping up and down due to excessive irritation. I walk, no- speed walk, to my bathroom, totally shutting the burn out of my mind, and wash my face down with cold water. I splash some water from the sink on my red skin to try and pacify it; it was at this moment that I noticed something very out of the ordinary.
I was peeling already. Everywhere, I could see patches of my dead skin already calling me to go to work and peel. When I start to pull at the dead skin, it feels as if that certain area of my body was legitimately on fire. It was almost like trying to pluck a nerve in your arm. I let out an unexpected yelp and take deep breaths. I will say this again, this pain was unbearable.
I finally manage to peel off a fair amount of skin, but the color of my new existence threw me off. The color of my skin was still red. Like, burnt-red. I pushed my finger onto the new patch of skin, and I felt nothing. I pushed my finger on the burnt area of skin, and I felt the typical burn. I shake away the confusion and continue peeling. All that mattered to me was that it wasn't burning anymore.
To be honest, by the time I was done peeling what I could, I was relieved yet horrified at my skin. I was completely disgusted with the fact that my skin was still burnt without the sensation. I just stared at my form in the mirror and scratched my head with this grimace on my face. Then I started to try and put the pieces together, even though it was odd that my skin started peeling within several hours, perhaps it didn't effect the actual tint of my skin.
I don't know. I'm just going to go back to bed...
Wait. My face. I just noticed this dangling piece of skin at the top of my head. I might as well just get it out of my system, right? I didn't look in the mirror for it. I kinda just stared at the sink and felt the neat sensation of dead skin retracting from my face. I finally peel off the useless mask of unnecessary pain, throw it in the nearest trash bin, and then hit the hay.
I woke up to a scream. My mom dropped the laundry basket and ran out of my bedroom. I screamed out to ask her what was wrong, but she just kept freaking out. What a great way to start my fucking morning; not even awake for sixty seconds and I'm already confused.
I walk into the kitchen and notice that the home phone is gone. Looking out the window, I notice that my mother is running into the middle of the road with the phone up to her ear. And then I notice something else.
I can see a very transparent reflection of my face on the window. Something didn't look right. Perhaps it was the placement of my eyes. I think it was the shape of my nose. Or my mouth. I could feel my stomach drop as I ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror. It took me a while to notice that the person in the mirror was not me, I was not looking at me. My face was different. My complexion, my eye color, my lips, my nostrils- everything. I held my breath with shock and tried to grab for something as I started to lose my vision and balance due to the anxiety. I let out a shriek, a loud one. The kind that would make the flow of your own blood stop.
I run out into the open in my boxers, my eyes scanning the perimeter for my hysterical mother. The neighbors stare at me and shove their kids gently back inside the home.
I scream out to them. I ask them what the fuck they're looking at. But none of them respond, they all just slowly retreat back into their homes or garages. I run down my block, banging on doors, asking people if they've seen my mom and what they see when they look at me. I was just as confused as they were. Just as hurt and just as shattered.
I can feel the tears ascending. I run back inside my bathroom when I notice a dangling piece of dead skin. Or, at least I thought it was dangling. I knew it was there, but even if it was or it wasn't, I scratched away. I scratched away at my fucking face until I could feel my skin getting pushed under my fingernails. I clawed at my cheeks and my neck until my tears combined with my blood. I dug my nails into my eyelids and my forehead until I became dizzy.
But nothing worked. All that was left was a red face. An exhausted expression of pain and disconnection from reality.
I could feel the blood flow down my face, and I could hear it slap the wooden floor. I sat in my dining room, waiting for my mother.
I asked myself why I didn't use sunscreen. I asked myself this until the sun set and the moon greeted me.
Written by Stovenoven