I wrote this piece yesterday inspired by the sunshine and seeing many men with their t-shirts off! I like the way it turned out even though it was not what I expected on starting it. I love when that happens!
He got my name tattooed on his arm. In a line down the pale fleshy part, the letters making his skin rise in anger.
“It’s nice,” I said.
“”Nice?” he said. “Nice?”
“Yeah, I mean… it’s great.”
His smile flashed a gap, his tooth lost last year somewhere in Dublin after a night out. He still has no idea what happened. “Only for you Kelly,” he said while looking down at the tattoo smothered under cling film. Him with the mad grin so proud of the ink needled into his arm.
“It was painful ya know, still throbbing now. Let’s go for a gulp to numb it.”
I nodded and followed. He took me by the hand and we walked up O’Connell Street, the Liffey at our backs.
“Howya bud,” he’d say every few steps. Their eyes always told me what state they were in.
Glazed = stoned
Heavy = heroine or methadone
Wide = speed or amphetamines
Lazy = drink
Somehow my world was now full of ink and eyes.
“The Parnell?” At my nod he brought me across the road and waited for me to go in first. Although most people don’t realise it, gentlemen come in many different suits.
“JD for me and a WKD for her.”
We took the lift to the top floor and sat outside. It stank of petrol and smoke. The roads below hummed.
“So what do ya think of it? You didn’t say much.” He was back to the name on his arm.
“It’s great. Ya didn’t need to though.”
“Didn’t need to?”
“Yeah, I mean you didn’t need to do that for me.”
He took a swig of the JD and stared with grey eyes that changed colour with his mood. They were often caught in the charcoal of a storm. “Of course I did it. I love you.”
The WKD churned in my stomach. “Ya do?”
“Course I do for fucks sake.”
I hadn’t heard the word love in a long time. “Right.”
The storm turned his eyes to coal.
“Right? Is that all ya have to say?”
I stared at the four angry letters on his arm, squeezed and bleeding.
I wanted to tell him I loved him too.
I wanted to tell him that I wasn’t really what he thought I was.
I wanted to tell him to chop his arm off.
But most of all I wanted to tell him my name wasn’t Kelly.
Instead I sucked through my straw and ignored his yells. He knocked back the whiskey and pounded the glass till it shattered. The he took the seat and threw it against the wall. Everyone stared. His eyes drilled into me, cold as a starless night. Security guards wrestled him away shouting ‘Kelly’ over and over. But Kelly was already gone.