The office was sweltering. Normally, I would wear a cardigan over a sleeveless dress for the entire day, but I was on the verge of melting. Since everyone was out to lunch, no one could be scandalized by my bare arms. I walked to the supplies room and reached for the paperclips on the top shelf.
“Did ya forget to wash or somethin’?” Old Jim asked from the doorway.
I jumped, dropping a box of paperclips that scattered on the floor. “Geez, Jim — you scared me!”
“Am I gonna hafta talk with HR about your bathing habits?”
“I bathe daily! Do I smell or something?”
“Nah, you’ve got some stuff on your shoulders.”
“Oh!” I laughed as he helped me gather the paperclips. “I have tattoos on my back.”
“Three pieces — one on each shoulder blade and got a new one in between.”
I pulled up a photo on my phone. I had the middle piece done the day before, so it was still sore. Amanda took a photo of my back after I got it done.
“Holy shit, Sam! That’s not a piece — that’s a billboard!” Old Jim’s eyes widened. “What’s your mama got to say?”
“She knows about the other two, not about this new one.”
“You kids ‘n’ your tattoos ‘n’ rebelliousness.”
“If I was being rebellious, I would’ve gotten some that would be in plain view all the time.”
“Then why’d ya get ’em done?”
“Each of them is for someone awesome in my life. The puzzle pieces heart is for my sister who is autistic (puzzle pieces are the symbol for autism). My best friend from college and I have matching ones of the bear and the tiger, which we got senior year. The one I got yesterday is for my boyfriend and me.”
“What’s the quote say? Is that French?”
“It’s a quote from The Little Prince that says, It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“At least you got meaningful ones, not some dumb shit.”
“Maybe that should be my next one — Not some dumb shit in plain typewriter font.”
“Your mama would be thrilled about that one.”
“She’s always pissed at me. I might as well do what I want.”
“Are you seriously gonna get more?”
“I’m going to fill up my whole back.”
“You’ll be a mural on the side of a building!”