*This piece is part of an ongoing short story*
You can read parts one through eleven HERE!
“I was the butt of a joke once,” Bitty explains when Helena finally gets the nerve to ask.
She squints once more at the almost microscopic letters. She’s never seen anything like it and although she has a pretty good view from the bus seat behind Bitty’s, the ink is so tightly tucked behind her left ear that Helena wouldn’t have been able to make it out if she hadn’t just been told what it said.
“Why would you want a tattoo to remind you of that?” She almost bites her tongue as the words pop out of her mouth. She sounds so judgmental.
“It’s important to me.” As Bitty turns to look out the window the moment, much like the tattoo, vanishes.
Left with only the hum of the bus between them as lampposts and cracked sidewalks whiz by, Helena twists her hair, trying to think of something to say.
“I don’t have any.”
“Well, both are overrated, if you ask me.” Bitty declares.
“It just seems so permanent. I’d be sick of what I’d picked within a month. Some stupid doodle or saying or something. At least yours seems exotic.”
“Well, mysterious, I guess. Kind of like a foreign word no one’s ever heard of.”
“I’m sure some people get it.”
“Anyway, you can get rid of them now. With a laser or something.”
“I hear it leaves a scar.”
Helena’s fingers comb through her band of bangles, straightening them into tidy lines that bump up against one another.
“I’d rather have an ugly tattoo than an ugly scar to keep me in check.” Bitty says.
“You know. Lather. Rinse. Do no repeat.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. It’s not the marks,” Helena says with more understanding than she cares to admit. “It’s why they’re there, that’s ugly.”