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Tattoo

A tear slides down my cheek as I reach for the door handle; remembering Will.
That day, the day my dad had finally fallen, yet another victim to leukemia; I hadn’t see light in the world the way I used to. Before my dad died, I’d been happy and bright; a sun in the bleak world of my hometown. Then my dad died and everything changed.
Everything changed again when I met Will three years ago in a bookstore. I’d had my nose in a book as I was walking (something I really shouldn’t do), and I ran into him and our things had fallen out of our arms. I crouched down to pick them up grabbing books and notebooks, handing him everything I thought was his.

“Oh God, I’m sorry,” I said, looking up at him. I stared. Will was tall and skinny, with a shock of blonde hair that didn’t match his tan skin. “I was just reading and walking, which I really have to stop doing and I don’t know why I even try to walk, I’m like, the biggest klutz in the world and-

“You’re funny,” he said. He was staring at me. I remember wondering why; I didn’t think I’d looked all that special that day, with my wild red curls all over the place, and I’d been wearing a plain sweatshirt and jeans. “I’m Will,” he said, holding his hand out.

I took his hand and shook it, “Marie,” I answered, I had been late to work, but I didn’t want to leave; there was something about Will that made me want to stay there, kneeling on the ground, looking up at him, just talking, forever. “Um, I have to… I’m late for work,” I stammered.

“Where do you work?” He crouched down and shuffled through papers, handing them to me.

“At the mall.” I murmured.

“I’m headed up that way, I’ll walk you,” He said, pulling me up off the ground, I hadn’t even realized that he was still holding my hand.

“Okay,” I said, and we walked out of the store.

Later that night, when I was going through my bag, I found a notebook that wasn’t mine. It was a green leather bound book filled with poems and sketches. I couldn’t help myself; I read some of them. They were about a girl, one girl that was captivating the writer and he was falling for her. It had to be Will’s, I hadn’t seen anyone else or run into anyone else and mixed up our things.

I didn’t know how to get the book back to Will; I don’t know anything about him. I figured I’d just go back to the bookstore the next day and see if he was there.

So, I continued going through my things, looking for my sketchpad. When I was searching a pile of papers, a small green folded sticky note fell out. I unfolded it and saw
Will 253-6980 written in a small slanted spidery hand, the same hand that had written the poems. My heart started beating a thousand miles an hour and a huge, bright shiny smile spread across my face. A smile that had been missing for ages.
I picked up the phone by my bed, next to the framed picture of me and my dad, and punched in the numbers. It rang for what seemed like an eternity. Finally he picked up.
“Hello?”
“Hi, Will?” I whispered, barely audible.
“Yeah,”
“This is Marie, you know from the bookstore, and I have your notebook.”
“Okay, why don’t we go get some coffee and you can give me my notebook?”
“Sure, so tomorrow?”
“I was gonna say now, but tomorrow works too.”
I glanced at my clock, reading nine fifty.
“No, now is okay, I just didn’t realize that you meant now.”
“Well, whenever.”
“Okay, I’ll see you in a couple minutes?”
“Sure.”
I hung up, grabbing my wallet and his notebook, and running out the door.
I stepped into the coffee shop, looking around for Will. I spot him sitting at a table in the back, sipping a coffee. He looked up and saw me, a smile stretching across his face. I smiled back and walked over; extra aware of my surroundings, so I didn’t fall and look dumb. Like usual.
I made it to the table surprisingly fine. He slid over and patted the seat next to him. I sat, and handed him his notebook. “I didn’t read it.” I say, “Well, maybe one or two or ten. They’re really good.” I offer a sheepish smile, cursing myself for not being able to control my mouth.
“It’s okay. They’re about you anyway,” He said, his eye grew wide, like he hadn’t meant to say anything. I laughed, neither of us seemed to be able to reign in our mouths. I didn’t care that if was, admittedly, a little weird that he had a notebook full of poems about me. I liked him; there was just something so profoundly special about Will.

“So, um, I… um, do you want to…um-

“Yeah. Friday, movies eight o’clock. Sound okay?”

He looked relieved, “Yeah.”

I laughed, it felt so good; laughing. Will had awakened something in me. What seemed like hours later, when the coffee shop was closing; Will stood and helped out of the seat.
Outside, Will pulled me into his arms, holding me tightly. He started leaning toward me, hesitating; I pulled him to me, our lips meeting in a kiss.

And everything form there up until about a week ago was fine. That day. It was awful, and perfect; perfectly awful.
It had seemed perfect, sunny and beautiful and I was spending it with Will. We’d gone to the park and it had been amazing; just laying there in the grass, talking and laughing. He’d written all over my arm with a marker. Song lyrics, poems and just words had covered my left arm.

When we were walking home from the park, a drunk driver had swerved into the shoulder and hit us. I’d run ahead and teased Will to ‘catch me if he could’ and he’d almost gotten to me; I felt his arm on my waist, then searing pain and then nothing. I escaped with only a broken arm and lots cuts and bruises. Will hadn’t been so lucky. He died in the hospital a day later.
I pull the door open with my good arm, and step inside. I have to do this, I tell myself.

“Hi, Wallace,” I say, trying to force a smile.

“Hey Marie; are you okay? It’s awful, what happened to him,” Wallace answers.

“Yeah, I guess I’m okay. Can you do a tattoo for me?”

“Sure. That one you’ve been wanting?” Wallace asks pointing at a drawing on the wall of the tattoo I’d been eyeing for months. This tattoo parlor was where Will and I had spent a lot of time, hanging out with Wallace, and watching people get tattoos, wanting them ourselves.

“No. I’ll get that later. Right now, I want you to do this for me,” I say pulling my sleeve up, carefully. I show him the fading words on my arm. “Will wrote it right before… the car… we were at the park… and he wrote this and…” I can’t help it, I burst. Tears start pouring down my face, and I was too choked up to keep talking.

“I’ll do it Marie. No charge,” Wallace whispers pulling me toward the chair as I protest. “No, I can pay,” I got out between sobs.

“No charge,” Wallace says more firmly this time, as he got the tattoo gun ready. I don’t make a move as the needle sank into my skin. It was painful, but it was physical, and physical pain fades. The emotional pain I felt; still feel, is much worse.

A few hours pass and it’s finally done, my forearm covered in the last good moment I’d shared with Will. The part that stands out the most, the part I love the most, is the words ‘I love you forever’ in Will’s spidery hand writing; a permanent reminder of the fact that something so good and pure, like being with Will, can be lost so easily. In the blink of an eye, everything can be lost.





Join the Discussion

This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Curly... said...
Aug. 31, 2011 at 3:08 pm
Its amazing!! Keep it up
 
JulianneV replied...
Oct. 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm
thank you!
 
cheytylemae. said...
Aug. 31, 2011 at 10:21 am
So sad, but it was really good. I almost started to cry.
 
JulianneV replied...
Oct. 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm
Thanks so much, glad you like it
 
LilLover5-15 said...
Aug. 30, 2011 at 6:51 pm
so sad but so good
 
JulianneV replied...
Oct. 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm
thank you!
 
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