Standing outside the tattoo parlour, peering in through the window that was now fogging up with her hot breath, Sylvia’s heart was pounding with an excitement that she could only liken to the time she kissed Alejandro among the pine trees that bordered her childhood home, when she was 15 years old.

          Her mind racing with the memory of Alejandro, she stood there like Shirley Temple looking through a candy store window, staring at the big tattooed brute that was tattooing a man a third of his size; She found herself wondering what it would feel like to be thrown around the bed as if she was a rag doll by this brute of a man in the most delightful throes of raw, primal love making. With the window fogging up at twice the rate, her mind wandered back in time, questioning herself about how she ended up being married to Clarence rather than the love of her life, Alejandro.

          Clarence! How in the hell did she agree to marry him? A scrawny man, with buck teeth and this heaving breath, that to those that didn’t know him, would think he was in the grips of violent emphysema. His blonde hair and blue eyes that would look straight through you as he talked about himself, and then his money and then a fair bit more about himself. His incessant whining about order, “one must have order!” His order drove her to the brink of insanity. Canisters on the kitchen bench lined up symmetrically with the lines in the tiles of the splashback. His clothes in the wardrobe in their colour codes, starting with tank tops through to his best funeral suit jacket. His expertise in organisation did not stop there! He even enforced colour coordination of the pegs that pegged up his jocks on the clothes line; White pegs on white clothes, blue pegs on blue clothes! How in the hell he ended up so ‘anal’ in his lifestyle always confused Sylvia, Clarence’s parents were hippies. They went to Nimbin, New South Wales, for their honeymoon as a lark aimed at agitating their own aristocratic parents, and they never returned, they set up their roots there and live happily to this day.  Nimbin has often been described as the drug capital of Australia; Sylvia could understand how that could be truth. 779km from Sydney, in the mountains, an alternative lifestyle created at the beginning of the seventies, Sylvia although not one to smoke cannabis, did enjoy the town and its sense of freedom when her and Clarence visited his parents; which, sadly wasn’t often.

          Clarence! That man that micromanaged her every waking breath! He chose her reading material, her television viewing pleasure and her wardrobe choices.  Sadly Sylvia couldn’t even attempt to say he made up for his control issues in their marital bed. In the 5 years they had been married she could only recall 10 times they had partaken in the sacred ritual of lovemaking, if one could even call it that! Twice a year they fucked, once on his birthday and at Christmas without the pleasantries of foreplay or tenderness, merely,

“It’s my birthday and time to celebrate I was born a man, lay still now darling and think of how lucky I am to be a man”.   His robotic movements, his breath laboured as if he was breathing through the pain of childbirth. No tender kisses, no touching her breasts nor delighting in her feminine form, rather touching his own lips lightly and leaning back touching his nipples, running his hands over his own body as though he was a woman a top a man.

          Snapping her thoughts back to the present, her eyes pulled back from watching the big man tattooing, to see her own reflection in the shop window. Her hair pulled back into a tight bun at the nape of her neck. Her shirt buttoned up to her chin and the dowdy tweed skirt that screamed ‘author’ or character of the old maid matron ‘Esme’  from an episode of  ‘A Country Practice’. A sudden realisation of carrying on Clarence’s preferred dress sense caused a dry retch to escape from deep within her stomach.  When Sylvia stood back erect, she noticed that her heaving had caused the burly man to stop tattooing his client and look up and out the window at her. She stared back, yet her hands at that moment tore the bun from its place and her long black hair fell well below her waistline, she ripped at her buttoned blouse, several buttons falling upon the footpath, exposing her cleavage, she took off her shoes and picked them up and walked barefoot into the tattoo parlour without breaking eye contact with the man that was watching her.  He broke his gaze and applied paper towel to the masterpiece he had just finished creating upon the shoulder of his client. Sylvia just stood there, staring at them both. Her heart was pounding with a feeling of exhilarating empowerment.  The heavily tattooed, well-muscled tattooist approached her,

“Hi how can I help you today?” She stood frozen and speechless for a brief moment before replying to him,

“Sylvia is my name, I am recently divorced and I want a tattoo. I don’t know what I would like to get tattooed, because it has been an extremely long time since I have made a decision for myself”.  She paused just long enough to hear herself question this new found assertiveness in her voice. She thought she had lost that part of her five years ago when she had married Clarence. Yet, without any pre-meditation she continued,

“I am very clear on two things; I want the tattoo in big bold letters, three words, across my clavicle. These three words 'YOU' can decide what they will be, after you take me to your back room and make love to me”. 

          With that, the tattooed brute, threw his head back in a short burst of laughter. Sylvia noticed it wasn’t a mocking laughter, it was jovial, to Sylvia, his laugh sounded compassionate and as if an acknowledgement of her plight. He didn’t leave her another second to wonder what his response meant because in one graceful movement he stepped toward Sylvia, picked her up gently and carried her to the back room of the shop. As he did so, he was kissing her and stroking the side of her face with tenderness and knowing.  They made love, they fucked with raw primal passion; This man took her to such  a state of a hot, wet mess she felt sure his prowess would make the antics of the characters in '50 Shades of Grey' look like a ‘Victorian Guide To Etiquette & Appropriate Behaviour for Ladies’.  When he had exhausted them both, he carried her to the tattooing table and started tattooing the three words she requested he decide upon. As she lay there enjoying the aftermath of their sex and the tingle between her legs that was a new aching in her womanhood to be sated again, that was intensified by the pain and buzz of the tattoo needle, she couldn’t help but smile and laugh at her impulsive trust that this man would know exactly what to tattoo upon her skin.  As cleaned around the new tattoo and applied the balm, he leant forward and kissed her softly upon the lips and whispered in her ear that he would like to tattoo her again. As he took her details and booked her next appointment, she became anxious to know what words were now emblazoned upon her skin.

          Standing, she went to the mirror and looked at the words he had given her.  Overlooking her dishevelled appearance she smiled at herself looked over at ‘her brute’, a small tear escaping down her cheek as she blew him a kiss and smiled.

“Perfect”, she said as she walked out the door.

LIKE A VIRGIN’ he had touched her for the very first time.

© Kartanya Martinez 



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