She took the knife into her right hand, the small one with the arched blade. Very carefully she checked the blade with her left thumb, it was still very sharp. Slowly she lowered the blade onto the skin and set it down at a flat angle. With hardly any pressure at all needed, almost tenderly she moved the blade across the skin and with a very shallow cut in one steady move took off the first strip of skin of the outer layer without cutting into the flesh below.
She smiled. It was always just intuition that led her, not knowing how thick the outer skin really was, the challenge lay in finding the right depth of the first cut, neither too shallow nor too deep. She had succeeded once again. Routinely she set the knife onto the skin again and again, stripping one piece off after the other, until she could see and feel the delicate flesh all around and every square inch was exposed and vulnerable. It was all about keeping control, no drop must emerge from the flesh, the second layer of skin, thin and unprotected, had to stay intact.
Even more carefully she set out to free the flesh from the last remnants of the outer skin that still clung to it. Gently she scraped the blade over the skin trying to find the right beginning, that little piece to start with, pulling it slowly, peeling off the frail bits until the entire surface would be naked and clean. Suddenly a tiny tremble went through her right hand, miniscule yet enough to change the angle of the blade for a brief moment. The tip of the knife sharply pierced into the skin, slicing it open and a tiny droplet emerged, slowly rolling along the bare skin, perling off of it and dripping down, leaving a small stain.
Her eyes filled up with tears instantly. She knew she just hadn’t been careful enough.
She had failed, yet again.