Fantasticoe -- 2013
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Ink in Action

Jessica Ramirez

 

My best friend, Rachael, was feeling down because it had been "one of those days."

            I gently pushed her auburn hair behind her ear and leaned in for a hug. She grasped my broad shoulders and dug her head beneath my scruffy chin. I squeezed her as I told her there was no need to cry. I was confident that my next move would put a smile on her face. I pulled her back away from my chest and we gazed in to each other’s eyes.

            "Okay, this is only gonna take a second, but don’t be scared?" I said.

            I slowly reached underneath the strap of her bright pink tank top. Rachael had a look of confusion on her face. I touched her butterfly tattoo on her left shoulder and let the magic take control.

            "What are you doing?" she asked.

            "You may feel a bit tingly for a second," I replied, "But just relax."

            The butterfly peeled off her skin and flew up into the air. She was amazed.

            "Neal, what did you do?" she gasped

            "What I do best" I said, "made you smile."

            And when she looked at me she was indeed smiling ear to ear. The butterfly swirled around our heads. When Rachael put out her index finger, the butterfly gently landed.

            "This is unbelievable."

            ……

            That was the day Rachael, my now girlfriend, discovered my power. I have been able to make tattoos come to life since I was a child. My first memory of ever doing it was when I was five. I was lying in my mom’s lap and she started tickling me. As I squirmed around and laughed, I grabbed on to her wrist a one moment. I felt something under my fingers so I removed my hand. The small rose tattoo on my mother’s wrist was blooming right from her skin. My mother and I both stared in great shock. She freaked out, but she didn’t want to touch the flower or anything in fear that she could harm herself. I slightly touched the rose on one of the petals and we watched it sink back in to my mother’s wrist. Back to normal.

            I could touch an animal tattoo and it would come to life. The image will come to life whatever size that it is on the body. Once, there was a woman with a lion tattooed on her lower back; she was a Leo. When I brought it off her skin it was no more than 6 inches long, it was still roaring like a beast though. The small feline was ferocious, the woman occasionally let out an "Oh my!", whenever the lion let out sounds.

            "That’s incredible!" she uttered. "Thank you."

            I could touch a quote and the letters would swirl in the air until they landed back on the

            skin. My good friends are all really in to music, so they have lyric tattoos. When I touch them you can faintly here the words sing. That was one instance where even I was surprised at what my power enabled, even I verbalized my "WOW", when I first did that. My friend Matt has lyrics from a Beatles song on his arm. Sometimes we just hang around and let the words circle us,

            when I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom. Let it be.

            "Thanks, man. You know how much I love this" Matt would say.

            I could touch a portrait tattoo and that person could communicate right off of the person’s body. Dead or alive it didn’t matter who the person was. By far those have been my favorite experiences. To allow someone to speak to their deceased mother or father right off of their body is a truly beautiful moment to witness. I didn’t need a "thank you" from those people, I understood. My power heals people.

            ……..

            I love what I’m able to do. My power allows for interesting events. One day, after I picked Rachael up from work, we went to visit Ingrid, one of Rachael’s cousins. She had a beautiful portrait tattoo of her cat, Wilbur. As a surprise, Rachael wanted us to visit Ingrid at her apartment and put a little magic in to her day. I, of course, was looking to show off my fantastical talent.

            "She just passed away last year." said Ingrid.

            "Aw, I’m so sorry" I replied.

            "Yea, memorial tattoos are some of the most common. I should know." Rachael added. Her butterfly tattoo was her first. It’s pink to honor her mother, who survived breast cancer; above all others that one has always been her favorite.

            "I had Wilbur for 14 years and it was so hard to have to put him down."

            "Well, this should take only seconds" I said casually.

            I grabbed on to her calve with both my hands and let it happen. Suddenly, Wilbur walked right off her leg and hopped on the rug beneath us. Ingrid was brought to tears at the sight of her old friend. Rachael and I couldn’t help but smile back at her.

            "Thank you, Neal" were the only words she could choke out.

            Wilbur was a hyper little thing. He was active as a kitten. The photograph Ingrid used when she got the tattoo was of Wilbur as a young feline, so it made sense he acted as he would at the age of the image taken. We were having great fun with him; this was the part of my power that was most rewarding. I left the girls for a while to pick up food at the Korean restaurant down the block. I was not prepared for the events that unfolded once I returned.

            "Neal, did you see Wilbur on your way up to the apartment?!" Rachael screamed as I entered the door.

            "No, why?" I replied.

            The rest is predictable, really. You take your eye off the crazy cat for one second and what do you know? He was gone. We searched and searched for him. Because tattoos come to life in the size they are on the skin, a 4 ½ inch cat was not so easy to locate. I was frantic! This had never happened before and I had no clue what would happen if I could not reattach the tattoo. Ingrid was scared. She began to cry and then Rachael noticed a rash beginning to spread on Ingrid’s leg where Wilbur used to be. I felt awful. We had hoped Wilbur had not escaped the house, if he did we’d be hopeless. We locked all doors and shut every window in order to trap Wilbur inside. Searching and searching.

            "OW! Oh my gosh, what is happening to my leg?!?" Ingrid was starting to feel pain in her leg. "It’s burning! My entire flesh feels like fire!"

            I was speechless. We had to find Wilbur.

            "Neal, she’s hurt. Do something!" yelled Rachael.

            "I don’t know what to do." I said shakily.

            "Maybe you should try touching the spot on her leg where Wilbur is supposed to be." she suggested. "Try anything, while I search for him!" Then she ran upstairs in panic.

            I walked over to Ingrid and gently placed my hands on her skin. She was not affected by this but my hands could feel the intense throbbing from her leg. I could feel how Ingrid felt. The pain was transmitting to my hands and it hurt but I was unable to remove my hands. Then I saw a flash in my mind.

            I saw Wilbur running around the house with a young girl. This girl was Ingrid. The little girl was playing with the small kitten and smiling ear to ear. Then next image was of an older Ingrid sick in bed, with Wilbur next to her on the bed. I saw every memory Ingrid had of her Wilbur. From his playful kitten days to the final kiss she gave him on the vet’s table.

            A piece of Ingrid was missing. Not just the image from her leg but a piece of her life. The meaning of the tattoo’s absence was the cause of the pain, not because the ink was out of her skin.

            "He’s in your laundry basket" I said as I was released from my trance.

            "In my laundry basket?" repeated Ingrid.

            "That’s where he always used to sleep, right?" I asked.

            Ingrid looked confused and wondered how I knew that. I took my hands off her and ran upstairs to her bedroom. Rachael had just got in there and looked under the bed.

            "He‘s got to be in here!" I announced as I walked through the bead curtain covering the closet and down in the laundry basket was a little sleeping Wilbur.

            I carried his calm soft body downstairs and quickly ran to Ingrid to heal her pain. I set him on her leg and in the blink of an eye, the little cat was back beneath Ingrid’s skin just the way he had been positioned as a tattoo. It was soothing for her; I could tell by the sigh she was able to let out. She was back together again, because no pieces were missing. She was complete.

            A tattoo is not just an image permanently put in to the skin. A tattoo is more than art. Once something has gone so deep in your skin it cannot help but be a part of you as a whole. So the next time you see someone with an interesting tattoo, compliment them for being bold enough to display a part of themselves on the outside for the world to see. I feel like a rebel with a cause. I bring art to life. I have had a variety of canvases. And I will master my power one tattoo at a time.

            ……..

            "Hey, let’s stay in tonight. Just you and me." said Rachael.

            "I’m perfectly fine with that" I replied. Then I walked over and kissed her as I touched her shoulder. When our lips parted, we both looked up and saw the playful pink butterfly fluttering in air between us.