I recline in one of the big comfy chairs in the corner at the local Internet café, reading a novel, immersed in conflict, challenge, adventure. She curls up in the other chair, across from mine, her feet tucked under her legs, and stares out the window. The sight pulls me from my book.
Quiet, pretty, young, she rarely smiles, even when serving customers their coffee and muffins. Each morning, I make it a point to grin long and broad, with “please” and “thanks.” But in return I rarely receive more than a rote, “Café Americano, two sixty-five.”
Then, at about 10 o’clock, she takes a break, to sit and stare. The sun peeks around the edge of a cloud overhead, now gleaming through her tender blue eyes and warming her luxurious, dark hair. Her face softens, and my heart melts, and I wonder what she thinks about.
At that moment, she raises her hand to her chin, and the sleeve of her black uniform slides down enough to reveal pieces of blue and red scribbled into her arm.
“What’s your tattoo?” I ask.
I myself have never mustered the will and courage to subject myself to the tattooist’s needle.
A frown etches its way across her face. “Nothing,” she mutters, her eyes still transfixed on the outside scene.
I shrug my eyebrows, as if to shrug off the hurt I feel. I return to the joyful fantasy of my book– Or rather, I am just about to return to it, when the girl silently unbuttons her sleeve, rolls it up, holds out her wrist, revealing a half a butterfly, its intricate wings painted in dazzling blue. The half-butterfly sits on the stem of a rose blossom, deep green and red.
“Wow,” I say. “That’s really beautiful.” Then, “Why only half a butterfly?”
“The other half– flew away,” she says, returns to her window view, her frown now more pronounced than ever. Click to continue »