The over-whelming smell of alcohol and burnt leather welcomes me as I stride into my sanctuary.
And no, it is not the pub where I would presumably get drunk and forget my worries and nightmares away. I do not want them to go away. In fact, the small, lit-up tattoo shop around the corner give me reminders of who I am, and what I have done been through. Permanently.
"Hello luv! Back 'ere again eh? You were just here last week." Papa Ben, as the shop owner is called, greets me with his stained, crooked teeth. On the outside, he seems odd with his wild snow hair and displeasing sense of fashion but he possesses the homely trait where whatever he looks like on the outside you'll like him nonetheless. A grandpa kind of feel, if you will.
"I am well aware of that Papa Ben, and you know why I'm here" I state frankly and almost heartlessly. I was not in the mood for talking, the tattoos speak for me anyway. I see him nod and I follow the old man towards the back, to the room that knows me more than what little friends I have. The hum of the tattoo pen and smell of wet ink relaxes my muscles as I plug my earphones in and listen to music. This was pretty much my routine almost every week. My body is a canvas, an art gallery of tattoos that I keep hidden from the world. And they only ever mean anything to me anyway if I were to spill off my little secret. The process lulls me into a deep sleep, and darkness consumes me.
I slightly smile at the mirror, my dark auburn hair and grey piercing eyes compliment the colourful owl tattoo staring back at me on my arm. Owls are wise and decisive, knowledgeable yet secretive and protective. Yep, definitely me.
I thank Papa Ben for the amazing artwork and depart from the shop quickly. It was getting late. The chilly night barely affects me as I observe people walking by shivering and shaking from the freezing temperature. I, on the other hand do not, my soul is already tarnished and frozen from years of pain and misery.
If things were different, I would not be alone. My thoughts sigh and sob.
But things aren't different. The universe has made its choice. It hates you. I straighten my back and walk faster to my home. I've had enough with my weakness. I will not be weak, I will not be a coward, I will not be small.
These tattoos are supposed to remind me of what has been done to make my life miserable. And they are permanent, as will the memories that haunt me every waking minute I am alive.
What do you think? -Chimera