<%@ Language=VBScript %> My Trip to the Tattoo Studio - Mused - the BellaOnline Literary Review Magazine
BellaOnline Literary Review
Out of the Mist by Verne L. Thayer

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Non Fiction

My Trip to the Tattoo Studio

Nadeera Rajapakse

Being in university is like being part of one amazing adventure. It has its ups and downs definitely, but it is also a chance to experience and learn new things every day. Even the simplest things like going out for a movie or walking the streets on New Year’s Eve seemed like an adventure regardless of how insignificant other people thought of it. The only thing that was important was how I viewed it and how it made me feel. I was sick and tired of being stuck in my hostel room 24/7 and besides walking the five minutes every day from my hostel to the faculty I felt trapped. The worst part was, since I wasn’t doing anything, I was actually starting to look more and more like an actual living, breathing, and talking potato.

So one day, when my friend invited me out for breakfast, I was beyond thrilled. Finally I was released from the cage that was the four white walls of my room surrounding me and holding me captive. We had breakfast and later on she wanted to check out the tattoo studio in town. I had never been to a tattoo studio before. Tattooing is not encouraged in my family. I was not supposed to get any ink permanently etched on my skin. So when I finally got the opportunity to see where it all happened, I jumped at the chance.

My friend was already a senior at that time and by the end of the year she was supposed to graduate. She wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate the new beginnings in her life and I wasn’t about to be the one that stopped her. Her parents weren’t a huge fan of tattoos, either, but the way she saw it once the tattoo was on her skin it was permanent. No amount of scolding was going to make it go away unless, of course, her parents were willing to pay for laser treatment to get it removed. But then again, there were still going to be some scars.

We stood right outside the tattoo studio rapping our knuckles against the black and golden door, my heart quaking at the fear of the unknown. I already had the preconceived notion that tattoo studios were run by shady people involved in underground crime operations. Where did I even get the idea? Hollywood. Go figure. We knocked for a while and were just about to give up, when suddenly a barefooted, shirtless man came and opened the door for us. He definitely wasn’t giving a good first impression. If my mind was previously racing, now it was being sent into overdrive.

Instead of ditching the place and running for the hills like I wanted to, I braced myself for whatever I was going to see next. We climbed up the long flight of stairs right behind the door, the wooden boards creaking beneath my weight. We were just two girls following this random stranger up to the second floor and no one else was around. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen something like this happen in crime shows and it usually doesn’t end well. But of course, no, shoo you alarm bells! I’m going to pretend you don’t exist for now and push you to the far corner of my brain where emotions rule over logic. Step by step, we climbed upstairs. Surprise! The sunlight was streaming in through the coloured pane windows and it wasn't really the dark place I imagined it to be.

It was bright and cheery and despite having so many things around, everything was in its proper place. It looked even better than my hostel room! There were no dirty clothes lying around, a half-eaten bowl of instant noodles, or even scrunched up papers. The idea of it being creepy already seemed far-fetched. My friend and I sat down on the couch opposite “THE GUY” and he was still not wearing a shirt. I kept thinking, isn't he supposed to be greeting his customers properly dressed? I mean, we were his customers after all! We might have looked like broke university students who probably couldn’t afford a tattoo to him but hey! He wasn’t supposed to write us off, I reasoned, my ego refusing to back down.

My fear had calmed down a little by now but it still wasn’t completely gone. Should I be sending someone my location right now in case of any emergencies? There were short circuits happening in my brain. Apparently not, as I sat there quietly like a rock letting my friend do all the talking. THE GUY was friendly and I was pretty convinced within the first ten minutes that if he wanted to kill us he would have done so already. If you’re a criminal, you’re not supposed to let your victims see your face in case they escape. Basic knowledge! I knew watching all those crime shows would account to something. After a while talking, I figured he was pretty decent and I started to ease up a little bit.

The more we talked the more I got comfortable and he let us see a few albums of tattoo samples he'd done so far. It was amazing and tattooing just seemed like another form of art. The artists were also university graduates with nice-looking degrees but they chose to pursue the road less travelled. Right about this time another guy walked in shirtless simply covered by tattoos and barefooted too- setting me at ease once I figured this was how things rolled around here.

As I sat in the room, I felt my perspective suddenly beginning to change. Tattooing didn’t seem like such a bad thing after all. If I were to go by this experience, tattooing was just another form of self-expression; tattoos weren’t markers of “bad people”. As I relaxed in the company of the warm, friendly tattooed people around me, I realized that I had much to learn from them and I should definitely get started.