Expectation nagged at Margot for the remaining four hours of the afternoon. Unsure how something as incongruous as a tattoo could preoccupy her so deeply, she stared out the window for the hundredth time. It seemed like a day for a walk by the ocean, rather than sitting in an office. Couldn’t she walk out? Remembering Jim’s remonstration, Margot boldly turned off her computer, locked away the confidential files she’d been working on, tidied her desk, and grabbed her purse.
Moments later, Margot walked into the tattoo shop. Chase looked up from the hairy leg of the large man he was tattooing and smiled at her warmly.
“Sorry,” Margot said, hesitating on the threshold. “I’ll come back.”
“No, stay,” Chase said eagerly. “I won’t be long. Make yourself comfortable.”
“People hang out here all the time,” the other man added. “Wanna see?”
Margot had never watched someone get a tattoo before. Timidly, she approached the two men and looked down. “Oh!” she exclaimed with surprise. “That’s, um, that’s really…”
“Cool, right?” the man interjected.
“Yes. Cool. It’s very cool.”
Margot’s breathing grew shallow as she watched the needle piercing the man’s skin. The tattoo was of a muscle, the exact muscle beneath that portion of his leg, finely wrought with extraordinary detail. It reminded Margot of one of Kevin’s illustrated medical textbooks. Gastrocnemius, soleus, flexor hallucis longus, popliteus… Reciting the names of muscles together had been like a bizarre form of foreplay while studying for his medical boards, so long ago.
Kevin had needed to know the Latin names of every body part. Margot had quizzed him seductively, removing an article of clothing for every name he got correct. It wasn’t a long game, usually, and resulted in a welcome distraction from his studies. Margot always joked that she could have taken the medical boards right alongside him, she’d helped him study so much.
As Chase worked, the buzz of the needle mesmerized Margot. Time betrayed her. Kevin’s presence in the muscle, her body nude against his, their soft giggles in the tiny apartment, the buzz of the needle, the feel of Chase’s breath against her cheek, Cassidy’s fist crashing into her lip… The jolt back to reality was sharp. The buzzing had stopped. Margot looked up to find both men looking at her with concern.
“What?” she asked, startled from her strange reverie.
“Are you okay?” Chase asked.
“Yes,” she replied, pulling in a deep breath. “I’m tired. I think I’ll sit down.”
Walking unsteadily over to the chair she had sat in the week before, Margot removed an aluminum water bottle from her oversized purse and took a drink. She had been lost in that moment, in that memory. It was utterly disconcerting. Breathe in, breathe out, she commanded herself. You’ve already lost everything. There’s nothing left to lose.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish