His fingers moved up and down her arm. He could tell by the slenderness of her wrist that she was a looker.
“So do you do this a lot?” She asked.
He could hear the tremble in her voice. Most normal people wouldn’t be able to sense that sort of thing, but he could.
“Is this your first time, hon?” He asked.
“Yes.” She said. “My mother just passed. Some of the girls at work had gotten ink when they had babies or got married. I thought this would be a good way to remember her.”
“That is very sweet of you.” He said.
“Are you sure you can do the picture though?” She said. “You know because…”
“Because is what?” he asked. “Because I’m blind?”
“Let me reassure you, miss, that I am very capable of doing my job. Perhaps you wouldn’t buy milk from a lactose intolerant farmer, but I would. Maybe you wouldn’t watch a one legged Olympic runner, but I would. Maybe you wouldn’t even trust a deaf man’s music recommendations, but I would. I would see that a man like that would take such an immense amount of pride from his job that he wouldn’t let his physical limitations stop him from his dream.”
“I’m sorry,” the girl said. “I didn’t mean to offend you, but you have to understand that this is all a little new for me.”
“I understand,” He said. “and I apologize for my rant. All of that being said, are you sure you want to do the picture? I think you have beautiful wrists and I would really like to do the piece there. However, this picture would be too big to fit and shrinking it would take away from your mother’s beauty.”
“You’re the expert, I’ll leave it to you.”
The man nodded and pulled the needle from a drawer and attached it to the tattoo machine.
He could feel her start to tremble as he brought it closer to her skin.
“It will feel like a pinch.” He said. “I have found that it helps to close your eyes for the first few minutes until you get used to the feeling.”
He pressed the needle to her skin. The girl winced at first, then relaxed.
“How is that?” He asked.
“Not as bad as I thought it would be.” She admitted.
“Good.” He said as he continued to work. “Tell me about your mother.”
“She was a wonderful woman.” The girl said. “When I was little we would travel to the shore in the summer. We would walk the shoreline in the early hours of the morning and pick seashells from the sand.”
The image of a rising sun over the water and gentle waves lapping up on a sandy shoreline came to his mind. He imagined a woman and her daughter scooping down to pick natures treasures out of the sand. It was beautiful. He hopped the girl’s eyes were closed because he felt a tear drop from his.
“I remember,” She continued. “we would bring those buckets. You know the cheap colorful ones that they sell in the gift shops to build sand castles with?”
“Yes, I know them.” He said.
“Yeah, we used to bring three of those with us every morning. She would carry two and I one. Each day they would be filled to the brim by the time the sun was above the horizon. We would head back to our shore house and spend the rest of the day doing crafts with them.”
“What sort of things would you make?” He asked.
“Oh all sorts of things. We would create a wreath of seashells. Kind of like a Christmas Wreath but made entirely of shells. That way people could hang them outside their house in the summer. We bought birdhouses and glued seashells to the outside. Sometimes we would even make little shell animals out of them too. Turtles, Seagulls, fish that sort of thing.”
“Wow it sounds like you two had some serious talent.”
“Yeah, when I got older we would sell our creations. Some of them fetched a pretty good price.”
The man sat back. “Speaking of creations, I’m finished with mine. Why don’t you open your eyes and take a look?”
“Wow, that was quick!” The girl said. After a moment of silence, she added. “Wait, what is this?”
The Man felt a stab of panic. He removed his glove and felt the damaged skin where he had just worked. It had said just what he had intended, but there was one problem.
“I’m so sorry,” He said. “It’s braille.”
“Oh,” the girl said. She didn’t sound nearly as angry as he feared she might. She sounded curious. “Well what does it say?”
“Mom” He said.
“Really!?” The girl exclaimed. Now she sounded much angrier. He felt the muscles in her wrist tense just before she yanked it away. “I give you that whole emotional story from my youth and the best you could come up with was Mom!?”
“Hey lady,” He said. “Take it easy on me. It’s only my first day.”