The following is my response to this week's prompt at Write On Edge; we were asked to write about tattoos: why someone would get them, what the meaning was, what the tattoo says about them...in 300 words or less. Brevity is not my strong suit, so we will see how this goes...
As she lay slumped over the back of the swivel chair, she braced her feet flat against the checkered linoleum floor and closed her eyes.
The tattoo artist noticed the veins along the top of her feet bulging and chuckled.
"Nervous much?" The artist asked, a hint of understanding softening the embarrassment. She wondered if anyone heard.
"I don't want to jerk when the needle hits my skin," she replied, as beads of sweat sprang up on along her hairline. She felt her armpits dampen. Why did she always sweat when she was nervous?!
The tattoo artist began to laugh - a quiet, nonthreatening laugh. "Honey, I've already begun the tattoo."
Suddenly, she felt the needles. Every nerve receptor on her shoulder became alive, on fire, throbbing in unison with the intrusion and retraction of the hundred needles injecting the bright blue ink.
"This is going to be beautiful," The tattoo artist mumbled under her breath, "so poignant."
She sat there quietly, waiting for the artist to continue, to speak to her, but she did not.
The most daring moment of her life, it seemed, was not worthy of conversation. She rolled her eyes and muttered, "Typical." to no one in particular.
"Can I ask you what this symbolizes?" The tattoo artist asked hesitantly. Finally!
"I love the ocean, the way new waves roll in...I'm putting the waves on my shoulder to remind me that each day is a new chance." It felt surreal to say it out loud.