She kissed your cheek and smiled widely, the corners of her mouth almost touching her impeccably tattooed eyebrows. She was not what you had pictured from the back and forth email conversations on quotes and designs and sizes.
She asked you to take a seat as she went to smoke a cigarette outside the shop with a coworker; Anna was her name...with two jack russel terriers - one of them is like a honey badger apparently.
It's funny how the mind remembers certain things... the way the smoke on her tongue smelled as she leaned in adding ink to her needle, or the song she kept humming while you bit your tongue and stared at the decorated ceiling.
But the pain of the needle depositing the ink into your skin was welcome... It was nothing compared to the internal turmoil you were experiencing the past seven days. It almost felt good... Not adrenaline good, but like good that you were capable of feeling something besides sadness and anger.
In the Barcelona airport two days earlier, you made your appointment. One on your hip, one on your foot 100 pound deposit. No problem. You needed something to occupy your mind from the pain it endured over your "holiday."
So much for a holiday... Surprise! Your friend is a backstabbing ***** who "secretly" hates you and tried to ditch you repeatedly.
The needle grazes your hipbone and you wince. "You okay?" Tota coos in her Italian accent. You nod, but you know you're not really okay... You never were...probably never will be OKAY.
Your mind wanders...wishing you were home and not in London, three thousand miles away from the only people who seem to care.
"Done!" Tota exclaims. You examine her work, smiling. The first time you have smiled in days. "Get ready...this one is gona hurt!" she says, half excited. You don't care...nothing can hurt more than your heart... Too bad that can't be tattooed...