Posted by: victanguera | August 11, 2009

Exercise #43

“What kind of weird body art are you into now,” Tracie asked as she grabbed my hand. She turned my palm over, staring at the small silver dots that marched up my forearm like drops of quicksilver.

Her remark embarrassed me, and I gently removing my hand from hers, pulling the sleeve of my shirt down over my wrist to cover the metal tattoo.

“They’re really popular,” I said, sipping at my martini. That stretched the truth considerably. Although probably a bit of a fad, they hadn’t caught on yet. And might not. Only certain people would be able to endure the pain when the small beads of molten metal were inserted under the skin. As the scars healed, the skin stretched taught and transparent, revealing the little globes as if a part of the body.

And not all could assimilate the foreign body into their own.

“Oh my god, Selena. Do you always have to do things everyone else does?”

“I don’t.” Not always. Like this. But again, always conservative, Tracie wouldn’t understand. She never tried anything until she’d examined every possible feasibility study, until trends had come and almost gone again. At least I don’t live my life in perpetual fear, I thought, not willing to risk our friendship by voicing it. Everyone has their own form of fear.

Swirling the last bits of ice around the bottom of her glass, she stared at me wide-eyed. Her gaze darted between my arm and her drink. She sipped at the dregs, set her cocktail back on the table between us with a thunk.

“Can I see?” Her request surprised me.

Clasping my sleeve as if to contain my skin I stared back, uncertain. But I had to show her, or let fear run my own life. I’d almost completed the tattoing process, just in time for summer. A big test of my own bravery.

Unzipping my jacket, I revealed arms laced with quivering dots, interwoven in an intricate pattern up over my shoulders. Pulling my shirt up over my head, I turned, exposing my bare back for her to see the lace-like image that traced down my back, disappearing into the waistband of my jeans.

Her fingers brushed against my back, along the lines.

“Did it hurt,” she asked. I nodded as I slipped my shirt back on and looked at her again. “How many do you do at once.”

“Usually three or four. It’s hard to stand the pain of much more than that at a time. And they take a while to heal.”

“They’re beautiful. When can I start?” I stared at her, mouth hanging open, unable to comprehend what she wanted. “Stop gaping like that. If you can do it, so can I.”

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