The Dove

Feeling exposed and more than a little awkward, Morgan sat backward in the chair. She had placed her long dark hair in a ponytail holder, which fell over her right shoulder and draped across her breast. Her bra strap was in the way, and the man asked her to remove it. She really hadn’t thought this out, she told herself. But she wasn’t backing out now. The young girl was glad her back was to him, or he would see that she blushed at this request. She had to remain calm, or he might guess her ID was fake.

The young man had a calming voice and told her, step by step, what he was doing. She wasn’t sure if that helped, but Morgan remained quiet.  

“So what is significant about the dove,” the artist asked? 

“It’s a family symbol, a show of strength,” Morgan replied. She hoped he wouldn’t ask any more questions, or she might cry. It was so much more than just a symbol or a sign of strength, but words would never adequately describe the meaning of the dove.

As the man flicked a switch, The tattoo gun softly vibrated, and the sound reminded her of the bees that hummed in her grandmother’s garden on warm summer days. “Okay,” she thought to herself, “that was a good sign, right?”  

Once the gun touched her skin, however, the pain shocked her. Although she had never been stung by a bee, she was sure this was how it must feel, except in this case, she was being stung repeatedly. 

“Try to relax, love,” The man told her. “Take a deep breath.” 

Morgan breathed in deeply and repeated the process several times. Finally, she felt her shoulders relax, and the man continued. Morgan focused on Rachel and the women that came after her. Slowly, the pain dissipated. She smiled. “Strength in numbers,” she whispered.

The following morning, her shoulder ached when she moved it. And now she wondered how she was going to clean it. Clearly, she needed help. But, of course, it wasn’t like she could ask her mother. Still, the tattoo was beautiful, and she had no regrets. It tied her to the family she revered and respected. Morgan loved that it represented a long line of the Dove woman and her family. It was her memorial to Rachel’s strength and the determined women who followed this grandmother.

She went to the mirror and removed her shirt. Then, turning her head slightly, Morgan tried to peel a corner of the bandage from her skin. She winced. “Not quite the badass,” she laughed. 

At that moment, Krista barged into the room, rambling about the latest injustice of extra laps that her coach forced upon the team because Stella Johnson was late again and was caught making out with her boyfriend, Jimmie, in his father’s frumpy Oldsmobile.

Krista stopped in her tracks when she witnessed Morgan’s latest disaster. A bandage covered her sister’s shoulder, and Krista knew it was a tattoo.

 “Oh, you’re dead. You’re so dead. Wait till Mom sees this.” Krista whistled. “Does it hurt?”

“Yes, it hurts, and Mom will not find out from you,” Morgan warned. “Now help me clean it.”

Morgan gathered the cleaning products that the tattoo parlor provided. Krista laughed, “Let me guess. You didn’t think about who would help you clean it after it was done.” 

Morgan rolled her eyes and asked, “Will you help me or not?”

“Oh, I’m in,” Krista stated. “Every step of the way. From the beginning to the end, when the parents ground you. How did you get it anyway? Did you forge mom’s name? Fess up, sis.”

Morgan groaned, but suddenly, Krista stopped her insane rambling when she uncovered the dove, and for once, Krista was speechless. Morgan turned to face her sister and watched as tears spilled down Krista’s cheeks. 

Writing Prompt:

For today’s prompt,  Character A has a very surprising tattoo and Character B discovers it.

Photo by Andrew Ling on Unsplash

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