Friday, March 9, 2012

Butterfly Effect

My freshman year of college my best friend Gina and I were lying aournd my dorm room on the bunk beds looking up tattoo parlors in the phone book.  Majestic Tattoo was close by, and I had remembered seeing its green neon sign, so we jumped in my '89 red Beretta and drove the few blocks.  I knew exactly what I wanted, so I had an easy time choosing an image from the parlor wall.  Meanwhile Gina looked and looked for one she liked well enough to live with forever.  I could hear the buzz of the tattoo gun from down the hall.  Extreme nervousness and excitement bubbled inside me as I wated my turn.

Soon a burly man in a black T shirt ushered me into a small room.  He had dirty gray hair and a bushy beard; he must've weighed 300 pounds or more.  The smell of rubbing alcohol and stale tobacco hung in the air.  The gun came to life and buzzed against my skin, which stung a lot more than I was expecting, especially as he rubbed the needle into my flesh to fill in the color, then wiped away the excess ink and blood.

Ten minutes and $40 later I had a blue and purple butterfly on my left hip.  Gina left with nothing.  I showed off my new tat at a party that very night, peeling back the sticky tape and guaze.  A few months later I finally showed it to my mom; we were bathing suit shopping so I sort of had no choice.  I was expecting a lecture, but she just rolled her eyes.  "That's forever, you know," she said.  And, as is often true with things moms say, she was right.  

It's still there, eighteen years later.  It's been faded by the sun and stretched by pregnancy, but that buttlerfly still spreads her wings on my hip as a reminder of a younger, more impulsive me.