Short Story: “Tattoo You”
A Rett Bonneville Story
By Anne M. Freeman©
The thin winter morning light made a timid entrance through my bedroom window. I stretched, luxuriating in the afterglow of a weekend with my long distance lover … from the neck down, that is. Everything above the collarbone was on the brink of pounding from way too much green beer. I don’t normally do St. Patrick’s Day, but he was in NYC with his band to perform at one of the big shindigs, so I partied with him.
My sweet was already on his flight back to Ireland. We met at a show about a year after my calamitous marriage ended in acrimonious divorce. We were both in the line-up that night, me with my guitar, he with his fiddle and incredible voice and band. I was primed for seduction – not, that’s not correct. I was primed to be uplifted, and McIrish was the man.
McIrish isn’t his real name. Laoidheach is his given name – I won’t even try his surname. I call him McIrish instead. He has flaming red, curly hair, white skin, freckles and blue eyes, and the charm of a thousand Irishmen. When we first embraced, I swore tiny fairies fluttered around me, lifting off my cloths as I melted.
I slowly turned on my side, careful to not move quickly, and reached to pull his pillow close and breathe in his scent. Something brown on my left inner forearm caught my eye. I looked closer, waiting for my eyes to focus … “NO!!!” I screamed and my head exploded with sudden pounding pain. “OH MY GOD!! NO!!!”
I focused on a horrid brown tattoo sprawled across my left forearm. How did this happen? How did he let this happen to me? Was I so drunk I don’t remember getting a tattoo? Why? I stared at it through flowing tears, and then calmed. There was no blood, no scabs. It wasn’t a tattoo, it was henna. Holding my throbbing head, I laughed in relief. But what was it? It looked like some bizarre map.
I grabbed my phone, hoping for an explanation. There was a message. It was him. I heard that magical voice:“Oh when I hold my lass My hands start with her ass And wander ‘round to all her comely parts But when I cup her breasts I almost lose my breath For then I’m closest to my lover’s heart”
“Darling girl, I’ve painted my heart on your left forearm so that you’ll think of me when you play your guitar today. I love you.” Click.
I looked closer, and with some imagination it could be the chambers of his heart. At the top of the right chamber, he’d written “Start Here.” From there, a dotted line wound down the chamber and curled round into the center, where there was an “X,” next to which he’d painted “You.”
I lay back down, feeling the heat rush through my body again. “I love you too, McIrish,” I whispered, and drifted back into sweet slumber.