What I Do for My Pain
One of Janyce’s boobs hit me on the back of my head as she adjusted position.
“You sure you’re okay, Umut?”
“I’m fine,” I mumbled into a pillow, my aching body complaining with every touch.
This is what I used to do for my pain.
Janyce straddled me and massaged my back. Her firm long strokes did little for me, but I appreciated the gesture. Janyce was naked; I appreciated that too. She’s been my good friend for more than five years and she’s the loveliest pagan I know, but we weren’t an item—I think that would have ruined things between us. We had a great, solid friendship, and we were both content with that, plus I wasn’t such a bisexual slut that I had to jump the bones of everyone I knew. Janyce was happy to help me out every month, and though there were no sparks when we did this, I was grateful for the physical connection and the distraction from my pain.
I’ve had chronic period pain since I was twenty-one years old. Sometimes it’s a constant cracking against the back of my spine, sometimes it’s a top note sung by a soprano, but held against my groin for sixteen hours. Medication doesn’t seem to help, and heaven knows I’ve tried most of the alternatives. I’ve had my time with hypnosis, yoga and acupuncture, and I’ve learnt that the only thing that ever gives me relief is, simply put, more pain. Janyce provided this valuable piece of information, and for this I owe her my present and future happiness, a big gift, and an obscene amount of chocolate.
Janyce was the one who suggested that I get a tattoo—a big one that I could have done in stages. As she kneaded my glowing flesh, she spoke of the magical properties of pain, and at first I wondered what strange new-age book she must have read about this in. Then, as she pressed harder and I rolled into the impact, sighing with release, I realised that she might just have a point.
I decided on a large sunflower on my upper arm, and I hoped it would be as beautiful as I imagined. There would be green and brown shaded floppy leaves, yellow and orange in the centre and hints of purple dotted here and there. I didn’t want any red, had seen enough of that to last me a lifetime. So I sketched my dreams on thin paper, drew out my desires, and smiled at the finished result. Then I went to see Pigeon, a man with a strange name, whom Janyce had said could help me.
Pigeon’s studio was high above a barbershop on a busy street close to Kings Cross Station. I climbed narrow steep stairs that seemed to go higher than the height of the building, and as I ascended I wondered if I started to scream in the middle of my tattoo, would anyone hear me? Would anyone come to the rescue?
The loud reggae music that blared out of the shop below seemed to melt away as I crept up to the top of the building, and soon I was high above any other signs of life, surrounded by silence. The smell of antiseptic wafted about as I entered another creaking door. Inside the lights were too bright, and I squinted as a spark of pain lanced through my lower back. I was breathless from my climb and disorientated by the sight of the tatooist who awaited me.
Pigeon was a squat man with pale brown skin, a mass of short locked hair, and a small goatee beard. He looked me up and down when I displayed my design, said nothing as I pulled off my top over the swell of my chest and flashed a fleshy pink freckled arm at him.
“You pregnant?” A soft Irish accent caught my ears and I was surprised—I’d never met a black Irishman before.
“No! No I’m not.” I didn’t expect any questions when I came here.
“On any medication?”
“No.” I tried not to snap.
“Right then, let’s get going.” His grin was wide and a little crazy.
“Can I have it done a bit at a time?” I asked nervously and he squinted at me, pulling on black latex gloves. “Maybe once a month?”
“Works out more expensive that way love,” he murmured, rummaging in a box for a little plastic instrument.
“It’s okay.” My pounding walloping pain was making it hard to think, or speak, or even breathe.
“Whatever you say darling, but I think a shamrock would look nice on you too.” Pigeon laughed and then turned away, opening an autoclave, stripping small packets, doing whatever it is that a tatooist did before they got going. There was a sticky substance placed on my arm, a paper pressed to my skin, and then Pigeon leaned back, assessing me. “Relax love,” he grinned at me. “We’ll take it slow, but you can stop whenever you like.”
I thought of my pain and whimpered with anticipation.
“You’ll be fine.” Pigeon winked at me, and I held my breath.
There was a silent moment before he switched on his tool, a few seconds where everything halted and my blood just stopped where it was. I clenched every muscle in my body and felt my clit tense along with everything else. Then he flicked a switch and the alien noise began. I seemed to feel the needle before he even touched me, and I was amazed at how my mind went completely blank, like a bright white piece of paper just waiting to be scribbled on. My sensitised skin screamed out, pulling pain away from my womb for an instant, a long agonising instant. All my gauges pushed past the red warnings, jabbing needles that flew off the scale of my internal register, as the blindingly swift vibrations tore open my skin, touched me with ink, and made me squeeze my eyes shut. My clit pounded between my thighs, tensing, straining and pulsing with every sharp sensation. I didn’t know what was going on, why my body was responding like this.
“Breath love, breathe,” Pigeon soothed and I tried to obey. The war inside my body raged on; the throbbing pain in my uterus battled for dominance over the constant pressing whir and bite of Pigeon’s tool. The bright lights of the studio swirled into a pattern above my head; white fluorescent bars of pain stabbed me, lanced through me over and over again. I looked in the mirror next to me and looked away at the sight of my blood. I wanted to run and hide beneath the nearest table—the pain was unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable and it would not cease. The unstoppable gnawing judder felt like a thousand forks tearing into my flesh as if I was a Sunday roast—Pigeon was devouring me like a feast and all that was missing was some mustard. And when I thought that I would pass out with the intensity of it all, it suddenly, miraculously changed.
I felt a cooling soothing flow bubble up deep within me, moving softly like balm from the raw opening of my skin, sweeping further inside my arm. I felt as if calm blue and pink salmon were swimming upstream through my bright red blood to spawn blessed relief inside my aching mind. I looked in wonder at Pigeon. He was already smiling back at me, slowly, as if time had slurred on this event horizon of pain turned to pleasure.
“It’s called endorphins love.” Pigeon’s mouth moved slower than his words. He looked like a character from a badly dubbed porn film, and I giggled like a silly little girl. Do they dub Irish porn? Nothing made sense in my swirling head. Pigeon looked so handsome and so very kissable. I wondered what he tasted like.
“Morphing?” my tongue had turned to thick pink paper and my words were messed up.
“Endorphins honey. You know sometimes people wander off on the inside when they come here, get what you’re getting now.” He flashed sharp teeth at me. “Sometimes I like to follow them on their little trip.”
The happy delicious feelings continued to float through my relaxed body, chasing my pain away as Pigeon worked. I never wanted him to stop, never wanted this bliss to end. My vision seemed intensified; drops of sweat appeared over Pigeon’s nose, reflecting my ecstatic face in every glass bead, and as I looked, I saw something else ... something strange. Flickers of charcoal and navy blue colour peeked out from the edge of his dark sleeve as he bent and twisted round to adjust something on the wall ... there, I saw it again, a pattern of quills, feathers etched onto his wrists, and more decorating the milk chocolate skin that showed between the gap of his black T-shirt and blue jeans.
“A bird,” I slurred, sounding completely drunk. “You’re a pretty bird, making me blue and green.” My mouth couldn’t seem to shut, wasn’t able to stop spouting nonsense.
“That’s right sweetheart, that’s why they call me Pigeon.”
“Coo, cooee!” I couldn’t stop laughing.
“Dear god, we’ve only been going for ten minutes. You are one cheap date!” his accent grew stronger, but he didn’t seem angry. He laughed along with me.
I focused in on the strip of colour over his belly once more. The sweeping pattern of sweet scars made me go cross-eyed, and I reeled backwards, gravity no longer doing its job of holding me together, and I guess I must have fallen right off my seat. I heard the dull thud as I hit the floor, but there was no pain—for the first time in what felt like a thousand periods, there was no pain and nothing else mattered.
When I awoke it was dark, but no so dark that I didn’t see Pigeon sitting across from me, smiling. I felt embarrassed; didn’t know what he must have thought of me.
“I know all about period pain, and there are other ways to deal with it.” His voice was matter-of-fact, almost clinical.
“I’ll be alright, sorry for the fuss.” I felt hung over, but at least I wasn’t in any pain.
Pigeon shrugged his shoulders and handed me a glass of water.
“Is it like this every month?” His fine fingers brushed mine as I took the glass from him, and sparks of life and pulsing blood flicked across my hand. I swallowed the cold liquid, and the change in temperature seemed to kick start my nerves into awareness once more. “Let me finish the design, and I’ll show you another way to get by.”
“I’m not interested in drugs. Don’t want any dodgy stuff.”
“Did I mention drugs? Did I mention dodgy stuff?” he crossed his arms and looked mildly amused. I shuffled in my seat.
“Have you ever been beaten?”
“God no, I mean ... No not ever.” What the hell was he asking me?
“A spanking can recreate the effect you had. It can release the endorphins that make you feel good.” Pigeon spoke as if this was the most natural thing in the world.
“You want to beat me up?” I practically squeaked.
“No, I just want to hit you.”
“Please don’t hold anything back on my account.”
“If I start off slow and gentle, work my way up to the strong stuff, you should be okay.” He shrugged.
“This is crazy.” What was this man saying? What was I doing having a conversation about being hit?
“Coming in here and getting a tattoo you don’t want is crazy.”
“I want the tattoo. It will be great.”
He just looked at me, a sideways glance and I knew he was right. I would never have chosen to have this done if it wasn’t for my pain.
“So what happens now?” I felt like an idiot.
“You go home and think about it. Whatever you decide, I won’t force you, but if you want some pain relief, come back just before I close and I’ll help you out.”
“What do you get out of this?” Did I really want to know?
“I get to use my strength on you.” Pigeon looked at me evenly.
“They make punch bags you know.”
“None as pretty as you love. You’ve got a luscious body.” And as he spoke, every ounce of blood seemed to rush to my cheeks. I felt my womb contract and strain towards him. My nipples made their presence felt and they grew hard and sensitive beneath my flimsy camisole.
“I think I need something now.” I knew that I was pushing things. I also knew that I was now officially slut of the year.
“You’re in no fit state,” he chuckled, though he licked his lips and rubbed his hands together, eyeing me with what I hoped was hunger.
“How about something else?” Please don’t make me beg.
“How about you show me what you’ve got?” He leaned forward and arched his eyebrows.
“What?” I didn’t know what he wanted, hoped his lecherous smile was my imagination. But when he nodded in a knowing way, my nipples hardened even more.
“Orgasms can help with period pain. The muscles of your uterus contract when you come and that can ease things a bit. Plus you’ve got the endorphins again. They’ll make you feel great.”
“I can’t touch myself in front of you. I don’t even know you.”
“Yet you wanted me to spank you a moment ago.” You said you wanted something now. Well, I’m giving it to you ... or not giving it to you.”
“You’re insane,” I wrapped my clothes tighter around me and stood, but Pigeon was there in front of me, blocking my path. He took a step back, giving me space, but as I inched by he held onto my arm.
“You have to understand something,” he whispered. “I don’t even know your name and what we are planning to do. It’s serious. It involves trust. Trust has to start somewhere.”
“My name’s Umut.” I shrugged away from him and sat back down on the couch.
“You’re beautiful Umut,” he smiled and crouched down by my feet, watching me.
I’d never done this in front of a man before. Janyce and I had masturbated together on a few occasions, but I thought of my pain, and this seemed as good as any other remedy.
My skirt formed ruches over my thighs as I stroked my skin. My black knickers rolled into a band of fabric as I shimmied out of them, and I knew, as I parted my legs before this stranger, that the little white string of my tampon would be visible now—I knew that nothing was hidden. My fingers tickled my labia, my clitoris, and the sensitive parts of my vulva. I arched up on the couch, looked over the swell of my breast, and locked my gaze on Pigeon. His eyes were wide open, dilated to blackness, exposed and waiting just as I was, for the building tension to explode inside me.
“Don’t come yet,” Pigeon urged as he hopped up onto the edge of the couch. His smooth hands were strong and he stroked my neck as he kissed me. I felt his lean body against me, heard the slap of latex gloves pulled on. I was pressed further back against the couch, and my legs limply fell off the side of the seat without any conscious thought. My orgasm circled the runway, awaiting further instructions: some touch or command that would make my world implode.
“Can I see you?” My voice was rough, but I managed to get the words out. I wanted to see the pretty bird.
Pigeon rose up and lifted his dark top, spread plumed arms above his head and almost flapped. I felt the dusty breeze from his surreal actions, thought I actually saw a speckled grey feather float effortlessly to the tiled floor. He wore a black bra and my surprised consciousness filled in the gaps of what he really was: Pigeon was magical. Two gentle slopes of breasts were freed from their material cage and these too were covered in plumed feathers. He cocked his head and blinked at me as I took in the sight of his heavily tattooed body. Every inch of his chest, shoulders and biceps was tattooed in feather designs. He threw the bra over his shoulder and I saw that even the skin of his inner arms was painted with permanence. He crouched over me once more, looking like a dark angel covered in indigo feathers, dipping in between my thighs, rubbing me, tugging and surging against the core of my pain, dissolving it into sweet softness. We both called out to each other, echoed low whistles and sighs, the gasps and groans that became our song. I became mesmerised by the sight of him, the man/woman/bird combination that pressed against my tender flesh, making me grunt into a kiss. And then his lips were gone, stroking lower down my neck. A tongue whipped out, encircling my nipples, and I warbled like a thrush, sang out with pleasure, even as his suction increased and I arched up from the rush, the surge of sweetness that eclipsed anything I’d felt before. I came with a breathy shout, and the ripples of pure pleasure rolled along every inch of my skin, my muscles, and my bones. My uterus roared with a spasm; a wave of crashing power and my eyes shot open with the strength I felt inside me.
I stared at this beautiful creature as I came around his fingers, and the orgasm seemed to go on forever. I bucked and squeezed around him and he made small noises in the back of his throat, cooing like a dove. The ceiling above me seemed to open out, and I bloomed like my unfinished sunflower, bursting with ripe juicy goodness. Pigeon withdrew and the black latex was smeared with crimson; my beating heart had stained him.
We both lay together after, snuggled on the couch with the sharps bins, the bottles of antiseptic and disinfectant all around us. Pigeon covered me with his painted wings, and I dreamt of a big thank-you gift to give to Janyce.
This is what I do for my pain now.
I brace myself against the wall, press my face onto laminated posters of half-naked girls, and Pigeon floods my body with sensation. Sometimes he uses a strap doubled over, and it cracks across my back in a searing fiery line. Sometimes he uses a needle and no ink, running the tool over my thighs until I explode beneath his hands. He decorates my skin, and I shake and weep and come with a power I’d not known before, and in the end that is really what makes my pain go away. Pigeon just shows me the way, but the strength, the softness all comes from inside me. I still wish for the menopause to come, but I don’t dread my periods any more. I know that it’s a part of me, just like my flesh, my skin, and my ink.
The tattoo of the sunflower on my arm is more beautiful than I could have wished for. And just like it, I have blossomed and grown in the heat of Pigeon’s attention. My sunflower has been joined by other images that are ingrained in my skin—I have a bright yellow daffodil on my back, a blood red rose on my ankle, and I hope to have a little shamrock some time soon.
Copyright © 2007 by Jacqueline Applebee. All rights reserved.
I’m a Black British woman who enjoys writing erotica at inopportune moments. I’m a library assistant who spends too much time flirting with the punters, but I’ve also earned a living making sex toys and silver jewelry. One of my fondest memories is of serving tea at SM Pride, to an admiring crowd. I’ve had my fiction appear in Cleansheets, Iridescence, Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica, and will be appearing in Travelrotica 2. “What I Do for My Pain” is dedicated to Ngahuia, a naughty soul with a more than healthy interest in body art.
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