She puts fake tattoos on her skin because she likes the way they look.
She went to a hole in the wall Mexican food restaurant she had never been to before and ordered a burrito. Her sleeves were rolled back to her elbows and the tattoo was on her wrist.
“When’d you get that,” asked the man at the register. Thirties, wearing a hoodie, kind face, a sleeve of tattoos on his left arm, which facing her looked like his right.
She was confused because the question sounded like he knew her, like she had come in days and days before and didn’t have fake tattoos, and they had talked about life. It seemed like he knew her. She didn’t know if anyone knew her.
“Oh,” she said, looking down at her wrist. “It’s fake.”
That didn’t answer the question, but she felt like it answered the question.
“Really?” He looked like he was going to reach out his hand and touch it. She coiled internally but didn’t move. He didn’t actually touch her.
“Yeah, it’s kind of dumb,” she said.
“No, that looks cool,” he told her. She had to swipe her credit card twice because she swiped too soon.
It was a feather spreading across her veins. Beneath it, Free Yourself was written in thick script. She’d gotten them in a set from a store where everything was $1.49.
“Thanks,” she said, and punched in the four digits of her debit card. “I want to get one, one day.”
Her eyes briefly traveled across his arm. A mural packed onto a person, waves of color. A silver hilted sword reaching across his forearm and almost reaching to his fingertips, but not quite.
“That’s cool,” he said. “You should do it. Your total will be $8.96.”
She blinked as he handed her the receipt. “Thanks,” she said, and took the slip of paper.
She waited at a red chair that stuck to her shorts and stared at her wrist. The loop of the cursive F was starting to wear off in crumbly pieces. But that was okay. She would just wait and put on a new one in a few days. Maybe this time it wouldn’t be dumb. Maybe it would. It didn’t matter because if she tried it enough times she would finally find just what she was looking for, and nothing was permanent.
“Number seventy,” called the man with the tattoos. He wasn’t wearing a nametag.
She took her order and paused for a moment at the door but the man had gone from behind the counter. As she walked out the door she rolled back her sleeves out of habit and thought she might come back here next week.


13 thoughts on “Commitment

  1. Commitment… or connection? Two levels here. One, she hasn’t “committed” to a permanent tattoo, so perhaps she isn’t the committing type (good for her!) and the other level is the energy exchange between the tattooed man and her. Does the tattoo connection, commitment, have to happen before there’s a deeper, personal connection between them? Only the Shadow knows.

  2. I like it. There’s an interesting contrast/conflict in this character over her appearance (she likes the tattoo but hides it out of habit), and the short exchange in the restaurant reads as genuine. Good work!

  3. Hi, Lovely piece. What it says to me is about commitment. But also there is a wistfulness, a loneliness…a young girl finding her way, but has not found it yet (have any of us really?).
    On a practical level I think that she is absolutely right…try out a fake one until you get the right one because it is a long term commitment and its best to try a few until you get the right one…I suppose the same about partners etc..
    Anyway, as you can see you have sparked some thoughts in my head. If I can achieve the same thing with mine I would be happy.

  4. Very nice descriptors. I really like how you encapsulated a small moment, built your characters, set your plot in such a short story. Keep it up, and thanks so much for visiting my site! I know my story wasn’t as gritty, but I’m writing to a particular audience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s