Butterfly

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Every inch of my body was tense with excitement as we turned the corner. I could feel the blood pulsating through my veins as the three of us entered the tiny cramped room that was hidden in a back street. The heavy aroma of tobacco and the rapid buzzing of the needles were overwhelming. A lanky young man who was in desperate need of a shave greeted us with a slight nod of his head. We approached what appeared to be the front desk and picked up one clip board that held two forms.


We each took a seat on the black pleather couch ordained with rips and tears. My hands shook as I scrawled a few white lies onto the sheets of paper. When I finished, I handed them to the scrawny man and he merely glanced at them before placing them aside. He handed me a beat-up album filled with sketches and my friends and I began to search. When we finally agreed on a sketch, we showed it to the man and he passed it on to a chubby man sitting in the back. My friends and I waited on the uncomfortable couches as the chubby man attempted to duplicate the sketch.


After five or so minutes, the chubby man handed us the sketch and asked for our approval. We all smiled and nodded. The scrawny man then provided me with a deodorant stick and instructed me to apply deodorant and the sketch wherever I wanted. Once that was finished, I was led to an extremely uninviting chair located in the back. Luckily for me, there were two stools nearby where my friends could sit and keep me company. I focused on a pointless conversation with my friends, unable to watch the chubby man prepare for what was to come.


A nearby buzzing noise began and I couldn't help but look. I watched the chubby man bring the quickly-moving needle to my skin and thanked my body for the adrenaline that kept the pain away. I watched the needle penetrate my skin over and over, creating an intricate design of black lines. The familiar smells of salt and rust filled my lungs as I watched drops of blood trickle down onto the chair.


I flashed back to my first day of kindergarten. All fifteen students, including myself, were seated in a semi-circle around the teacher at the front of the classroom. The young Ms. Hamilton explained to the class that we would soon be reading books about different careers. The point of of our little group discussion was for each of us to share what we wanted to be when we grew up. Quite a few students claimed they'd be doctors or superheroes. When Ms. Hamilton noticed I hadn't shared my plans for the future she asked, “Trisha, sweetie, what about you?” I hesitated before replying, I was awfully shy back then. I could see everyone growing impatient, “I want to be a butterfly because they can fly real fast and they know where all the pretty flowers are,” I blurted out. The whole class laughed and Michael, a kid I would never forget, told me that I was the “stupidest girl he ever met.”


A sharp pain brought me back to the present and I glanced down. There I was, sitting in the most disgusting room, lying about my age and allowing some strange chubby man to tattoo me. I looked at the black butterfly on my skin and thought: “Here I am, being stupid again.





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