At a bar in the day time and a few drinks in, he shows his tattoo. A whistling Mickey Mouse on his upper arm peeks out from beneath the sleeve of his stretched out t-shirt.
“Do you have a tattoo?” he asks.
“No, not yet,” I smile slowly.
“What do you want to get?”
“I’m not sure yet,” I look to the side and furrow my brows in thought.
“You should get Minnie Mouse. Then we could match.”
“I hate Minnie Mouse!” I shouted, smiling as I held his arm in my palm.
“What?” he shrieked. “Why?”
“Come on, she’s so fake! And you know she’s got to be high maintenance with those high heels. She wears them every day, even when she’s in the kitchen. And that mini skirt.”
He whistles at my passion. “Now you’re just slut shaming.”
“No, I just think Mickey could do better,” I laugh.
I’m still holding his arm, late into the night.
. . .
In the tattoo parlor a sweet large man with a pencil thin beard leans over my back. My chin is pinching the hands that pillow it. Ben is here with me, bouncing on his feet.
“I promise, it will hardly hurt at all,” he says.
“Are you sure?”
“Ready, mija?” Lenny the tattoo artist asks me.
“Umhm,” I nod.
“Okay, let me know if you need to shift positions,” Lenny says with a light pat on my arm.
“Here goes,” Ben grins.
I wince. And then the needle starts. No going back now. The buzzing is so loud it tickles my ears and I can feel the thrumming of Lenny’s pulse against my skin. It helps to focus on these things, instead of the scratch of the needle. But when it’s done Lenny helps me up and walks me to the full length mirror.
“Take a look,” he urges me.
Minnie looks like a bitch. It’s perfect.
. . .
I roll my shoulder and remember the tattoo. It still takes me by surprise when I get out of the shower and see the black, permanent ink peeking around the bend. After ten long days of fighting, it’s over.
“I stand by what I said about Minnie,” I said.
“What?” he doesn’t remember.
“She and Mickey don’t belong together.”
But after all these years, Minnie winks at Mickey. And somewhere behind me, the boy with the Mickey Mouse tattoo whistles back. I miss him. I think Minnie does too.
This short story inspired by “Miss You” by Alabama Shakes. I can’t tell you how nice it was listening to this song over and over agian. Read Dylan Hughes story inspired by the same song at Machete Diplomacy