It can be seen, going in, how sharp and glinting, but can't be felt. The effects of anaesthesia, the influence of chemicals. It's as though my sense of sight is disagreeing with that of touch.
As my blood spirals through the plastic tube, into a plastic bag, I marvel at the modernity of this process. The artificial creation of such cheap and readily available plastics that carry blood from a faceless somebody to another faceless somebody.
To whom, will this bag of blood go?
And why am I donating blood? To help people.
But is it just to help people? Perhaps I simply don't treasure myself enough, to be sufficiently self-centric to run away from an impending needle, the way other friends would.
It's the sixth time I'm donating blood and it's the sixth time I'm donating alone. I've learnt not to ask people to donate alongside. Those herds of friends, happily squealing, coming together, giving blood on adjacent beds, what is it that they have that I'm so profoundly envious of?
The crimson tube, resting against my arm, is warm.
At least, the viruses and bacteria living in my red fluids will find a new home.