Maria’s Phoenix


3 hours 45 minutes passed, she felt numb. Her knuckles white and lips stung from holding back the drilling sound of needles right down her left ear. She looked across the mirror and the man’s great physique, his back on her view. She stared on his perfect hands working on the outlines of her design, her symbol – long lost and regained, and then her eyes darted on his full sleeved koi-tattooed arm. Then he heard him, “…does it hurt at all? You are the first female who’s been here and never complained or cried during the session…” She said, “Painful? Nah! Define pain – “. It was a demand, not a question. “…it’s taking too long that’s all I know – “.  She started humming to drown the drilling needle.

3 hours and 45 minutes earlier, she was pacing back and forth – undecided. The man on the lobby of the shop approached her. I have a design with me – she said. Then she handed over the paper, she looked at the man, probably 30’s, the man looks good. His name he said is Brent, and he is her artist. She looked at him, wondering how long those beautiful Koi designed tattoo took to finish. It covered both his arms, he noticed her staring – he said, “…that goes all the way to my back, see?” – He lifted his shirt, displaying muscles and skin, and there she saw it – all the way to his back. The red, orange, yellow color of the fish – “He created it…” – he said, pointing to another man on the far end of the room. It took 2 months, 10 sessions –he confessed. She looked at him straight, and he nodded. “Are you ready? Let me tell you there’s no backing out once we start and no anesthesia. Your design is a bit complicated, beautiful but very detailed”. She looked at him, determination on her face. He is saying there is a lot of outlining and will hurt like hell. She blinked, remembering every reason why she is there and had decided on it. “Yes, I am ready. How long will this take, I have work tomorrow.” He looked at her – she looks different, her appeal is nothing ordinary, you can’t really say beautiful, but she is far from plain either. She is charming and her sex appeal is really strong – but lost. He wondered why she’s there. He shocked her with another answer – “I want it here…” she pointed below her left ear, far end of her neck. He told her that will be too painful – “…that is one of the most sensitive parts of the skin, are you sure – I mean you cannot kick me or twitch or move even.” She looked at him – annoyed. “Just do it…” it’s a flat tone. The first time the needle touched her sensitive neck, she bit her lip until she felt blood. Oh yes, he is not joking about painful. The man looked at her, waiting for her to wail or ask him to stop. She is very passive now. Though her eyes are shut too tight and her lower lip – he guessed, must be too numb from over biting. “Just let me know if you need to rest or breathe…” – he told her, she wasn’t listening. She drifted her thoughts away from the drilling needle and the physical pain being inflicted on her sensitive and beautiful neck. This is going to stick forever, she thought. Good.

She drifted her thoughts 5 years back – her lost life. She was 25, her wedding gown is beautiful – it shows a V-cut from the bustier to her waist, the train which she and her sister – in – law picked is 6 feet long. The motif is midnight blue and pale gold. The preparation was swift – she is a month pregnant. She sleeps with her ultra-sound photo under her pillow; she loved it, excited for her baby, she knew it’s a boy, though it’s still too early to say. Everyone is excited for the wedding, she for her life with him – her husband to be. The only man she had loved and will marry – Kenneth. It’s about time, it’s been 6 years and now they will get married. She walked down the aisle like a kid, not knowing what’s happening and what to feel. She stopped from her march – only barely, she probably was the only one who noticed. She was walking holding on to his father’s arm, looking beautiful and sure. For the barest second, she doubted, and was lost. She went on still. The wedding and the reception was over. She was smiling – her last innocent smile.

She woke up the next morning, blissful of her new life. She looked at the man she married – still unbelieving they are husbands and wives now. She sneaked out of the bed, went to the kitchen to prepare him a breakfast in bed. She had omelets and bacon and some toasted bread, coffee will make his day. She planned on their 1 week vacation – off of work. She will pamper him and fool around with him. She carried the tray to him and whispered in his ear – “…Good morning my king, your breakfast is ready…” – he stirred and is awake in a few minutes. He looked at her; she looks so happy and beautiful. Why? – That was his first thought on his first day of married life. For him it’s been 6 years, what’s new? Oh, this time it’s forever. She was the only girl who stood by him, who understood his short comings and tempers. Who is still there for him despite what he did. He never had a relationship that lasted more than a year, and this one lasted until marriage. Is it? Or is it because of the baby inside her? He got irritated suddenly. She was there with all smiles, and him with a cranky frown. He couldn’t blame anyone, she did not force him to marry her, and no one did. “But I don’t like the baby, I only want you – not that!” – He had told her when they found out. She will keep the baby herself and won’t ask for support – she had told him. “…I’ll keep him and you don’t need to support us – you can leave…” – they argued. He can’t live without her, she had always been his strength and guide, he is normal and tolerable because she is around – so he married her, and the baby in her womb. He looked at his beautiful wife and how irritatingly happy and contented she is now. He got up and started eating, without hearing her bubbly chatter – she is opening the wedding gifts now. Too sentimental.



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