The Imaginary Tattoo

We are walking from one neon light to another at the beach, we take in the warm and salty smell of the sea, the tinkle of ice cream vendors who serve the heaven-in-tongue on a cone, and couple of old women who walk around with brown baskets full of summer flowers.

He buys me flowers. I love wearing flowers. The haunting smell that walks with me everywhere. I love wearing flowers.

His hands feel warm and coarse in mine. Unlike the one I used to hold before and for long months. It is amazing how one can adapt to different things. Or to different men. Sometimes I wish this was the last one. I am tired to adjust. I am tired of being a woman myself.

We make heads turn. Both of us smile to ourselves knowing that we look good together. It pleases us endlessly.

His hands run a line connecting the three little dark brown dots on the length of my hand. My moles. They are the perfect points for a straight line. A graph. Like those three stars you see forever in the sky. I don’t know what they’re called -I am bad in astronomy, but you do know what I mean, don’t you?

“I once colored my hair pink..” he says fondly. Arrogantly too.

It’s my cue to say something I’ve done. To regret, maybe. And to look back and smile in fondness, definitely.

My other hand draws patterns in the sand. No, not those random ones. I realize it’s the one I used to doodle when way back in my daydreaming-phase of secondary school.

“I have a tattoo..” I lie carelessly.

His fingers drop from my hand. The pause. The first step of abandonment.

The longer pause. He takes a step back in our life together. The actual act of abandonment. I wonder what his exit line will be with me. Him being creative and all with the women in his life…

“What? Where?”

Did I ever consider his voice gentle?

I take his hands that have long left my body. Placing them on the lower end of my spine, I lie again.


And recklessly pointing to the random pattern that I draw in the sand, “It looks like this.”

I can now smell the stench of fish. The smell of oil mixed in water from the numerous boats that will never be lost at sea. The sound of the stream and wave profoundly soothes me.

“Tattoos and them being slutty on women.” his voice says.

I lost a guy over a tattoo I never had. We walk back together to where we never came from.
And I left the flowers behind.


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