Indelible Ink

Well, hell, I got Elizabeth Cherry's name crossed off my back yesterday. Fucking hurt like hell. Not the tattoo, itself, but the finalization of it. She was the sixth one. The first was Stephanie. She was up there across my shoulders, Old English lettering, about three inches tall. Didn't hurt a bit to have that one X'd off. It was almost like a wedding ring, that tat was, in that about three days after I had it put on, me and Stephanie started having trouble. I won't go into it, except to say that she "accidentally" left the gate open and didn't notice when my dog, Connor, ran out, and to this day I don't believe it wasn't intentional. You just can't have a lasting relationship with a woman like that. So the tat hadn't healed three weeks before I went back and had John run two black lines right through it. That's how the whole thing started.

I won't say I'm fickle. It's just that I fall in love before I realize who it is I've fallen in love with. Let's see, after Stephanie came Marla who had a stick up her ass and had warned me not to get her name tattooed on me like I did with Stephanie, which only made it certain that I'd get her name tattooed sooner or later. It was sooner. Followed the same style as Stephanie's, Old English, about three inches tall. Like Stephanie, Marla ended soon after and I went back and got another X.

Aimee was fucking hot. She was fucking hot. It bears repeating. Aimee wanted me to tattoo her name all over my body, and I wanted to, too. I knew Aimee wasn't going to last. A free spirit like that won't sit on any man's Harley for too long. I got her name tattooed under Marla's, though, because I was hoping to keep her around a little longer. I did her's in script, real pretty lettering, all curly like her hair and curvy like her body, and four inches tall. After I had it done, she ripped the bandage off so she could see, then she washed the fucker with salt water and it started throbbing and burning and it was the middle of the night and I was cussing at her. She pulled off my pants and her panties and made me take her for a ride, up into the canyon. She sat facing me, on my cock, pulling up her little dress so her titties would be in my face and blind me so I was driving by instinct and she kept telling me, "You better not come yet, you better not come." She came about five times before she finally let me shoot, and I crashed when I did. We weren't going very fast, it was a dirt road, but me and the bike landed on top of her leg, which landed on a rock, and it snapped right in two. God, the things she used to do in her cast! I came home from work one day and she was gone, never to return, and I had her name X'd off, even though she told me if I ever did, she'd come shoot me. I ain't been shot yet.

Next came Old Sal, a good old gal. That's what I'd call her. Old Sal, a good old gal. She wasn't so fond of that, but it was pretty true. Maybe she wasn't exactly old, but she was older than me, so that qualified. She had her own ride, and was an earth mother type with long straight hair and a headband and she baked homemade bread and all that shit. I just didn't love her. I never much did. She kept asking me about getting a tattoo of her, and I finally did just because she lived with me for two years and I felt like she deserved it. I had "Old Sal" put on, and that more hurt her feelings than made her happy. It was small, only about two inches, just plain block lettering, nothing fancy. She moped around and couldn't get over being hurt, and I finally got it X'd off, went home and showed it to her, and asked her pack up and go. Broke her heart, which I didn't intend to do because she truly was a good old gal, but it happens.

I was getting down to the small of my back, and nigh on about twenty-eight when I got Leticia's name put on. Leticia could have been the one if for nothing else than I was getting at that age to settle down, had it not been for Elizabeth Cherry. I met Elizabeth Cherry about three months after that, and nothing else mattered. I don't know what it was about her. Shit. She wasn't the most beautiful woman ever lived. Nor the most personable. Nor the softest. Nor the sweetest. She could about match Aimee for sexiness, and she was smart. Real smart. One of those geniuses. So off came Leticia and on came Elizabeth Cherry, and Elizabeth Cherry got her full name, in three inch scroll, nice, feminine, sexy letters, all the way to the top of my ass, and I told her, "You took up the last of my back. There won't be another after you." That seemed as good as a marriage proposal, to me. It almost was as good.

She had my baby. We were together for five years, then she had my child, a little girl, as pretty as her mama, with a brown curly mop-top, and God those sweet little white teeth smiling at her daddy. She'd fall asleep on my chest, and her mama'd fall asleep on my shoulder and I'd lie there awake from the pleasure of it all. I still lie awake, sometimes, from these phantom pains, like amputees say they get, there in my chest and my shoulder. When I'd come home from work, she'd reach out her little arms and say, "Dada," and I'd hold her in one arm and Elizabeth Cherry in the other. We'd kiss and Begonia Rose would giggle and squeal to watch us. I guess I'd never known anything quite like that before and I guess you'd call it true love and I guess I had it in spades.

Then she left me. She loved me, she said, but she loved our baby more. I was no kind of life for Elizabeth Cherry's child, she said. I was too rough, and didn't I love little Begonia Rose more than to want her to grow up admiring a man like me, ending up falling for one, who'll just X her off his back? So she left, and took my daughter.

That was twenty years ago, yesterday. I kept waiting for them to come home, or maybe not come home, exactly, but just come by and show me how what I gave up ended right. I guess they won't. Begonia Rose must be about ready to marry by now. I hope it'll be a big affair, with her wearing one of those big shiny, lacy gowns - white, to match her pretty teeth - walking down a long aisle to meet her fine young man.

Anyway, I got Elizabeth Cherry X'd off to mark the anniversary. I fucking bawled while he did it. He kept saying, "Hang in there, buddy, it'll be over soon," not knowing it wasn't my back that hurt. I couldn't tell him, I was crying too hard, so I just kept nodding so he wouldn't stop.

About the author:

Errid lives in a beer (Corona, California), and she goes good with limes. She is a retired accountant (the only kind of accountant to be). Her stories have appeared, or will soon appear, in Quantum Muse, Dead Mule, Prairie Dog 13, and others.