Elle by Dona

Posted on October 15, 2012 by


Who is Elle? Learn a little bit about her here.

I get called bitch 5 times a day. It comes with the job. Why am I here? My story starts backwards; unlike the way memories are, I don’t just recall a period and end up forgetting all that is recent. I’ve come a long way. Maybe right now I’m at a cross-road, but I’ve decided to take a time out. I won’t cross either ways. I’ll just sit aside, brooding.

So I’m sitting in my usual spot; a cigarette in my hand, and a thought in my head. No one ever had the balls to come any close to me whenever I was in such mood, as if I was some sort of a devil. I liked it that way, but I’m worried that I might end up losing everyone including myself.

There’s this part of me, deep inside, which knows I’m not that person everybody thinks they know. People think I’m a living corpse, or maybe I am just heartless. I do know that I am a sucker!  I am a loser! And unless I do something about it, it will always be this way. I can see it in their eyes, and maybe that’s why I always feel lonely amongst them. They don’t get me. No one will ever get why I’m still attached to someone who’s already gone.

A year ago, I probably would have been in this same spot, only that I would have felt more miserable. A year ago; everything fell apart in my world, and the only thing that kept me going is this job, which was like a lullaby, the buzz of that machine, the ink on skins, the flinch they get – just like the way I felt whenever I heard a name – and the work of art I produce on a skin of which an hour ago was devoid of color.

There’s this man, He is not the one who taught me how to draw, but he showed me where to use it. Whenever I think of this I get a flash-light of a single useless memory; his palm on top of mine, he is not holding it formally; he is just showing me a drawing way, but he still keeps on holding it even when I master the trick. As if this iswhere he belongs, and where he’d rather be at for good. Back then it was normal; right now its just distant.

I knew him for years, and thanks to him I’ve reached what I reached. He didn’t just teach me a profession, he taught me the way to Love. Light entered my eyes differently when he opened them up for me, and I knew that he’ll always be a ‘one and only’ to me. It was going to last forever, me and him. The thing is, a while later; I became nothing but an option to him, and it’s harder for a bird to learn how to fly out of a cage rather than flying at all.

He used to tell me that body art is sacred, and so are tattoos and those who made them. Just like how a music artist is taught to worship Beethoven, I was taught to worship the Moko; a tattooing art made by a group of people called the Maori, his ancestors. He’s a Polynesian, and tattooing is not just his profession; it’s a reason to be a proud Maori. He got his first Maori’s symbolic tattoo before leaving New Zealand; a blessing for being an honorable man. Not everyone was privileged to give a Moko, and not everyone was privileged to have it.

We worked on a design that merged both; the symbolism of Moko and the imprint of complexity a tattooist is blessed to have. He left me with this design; tormented for having it, and tormented for lacking it. To keep me entangled with his love; he occasionally came back yearning, and I lacked the will to deprive him from me the way he deprived me. I always gave him more that he was fulfilled then left.

I no longer think of his impact on me; what he did to make me, and what he did to destruct me. I just long for the existence of a great man I once had. My connection to him preceded every materialistic connection. Our souls connected better, and that’s where no spirit is ever allowed to mention what it lost, and what rights does it have.

All that I think of is what happened a year ago. I was sitting in a bar, enjoying the hours of solitude that somehow keeps me closer to myself. It was autumn; usually he spent autumns in Auckland, attending a family ritual.

The chair next to me was empty as I never appreciated any company, but that night a random woman just pulled the chair and sat as if she owned the spot. I glared at her constantly. It wasn’t because of what she did, it was just a thing I liked to do.

She saw me glaring, and just as if I was smiling instead; she gave a remark, “Sparkling water with lime, no liquor; wise choice”. I thought of how I don’t need these things as long as I was in good terms with him, and he was on my mind. “yeah, and yours?” I said, and the next moment I found myself buying her a beer. She did not use a glass, she drunk straight through the bottle.

My stares at her turned a little smoother, I was plainly interested. ” A tattooist, ha?”, and she pointed at my fingers where I was torturing a piece of tissue. “You know one?” I asked, and her eyes lightened; “oh, yeah; your stains reflect the level of respect you lay your profession at”, and she was stroking my fingers while not looking me in the eye; she was staring at them. Instinctively, I pulled away and held my cup, but I still couldn’t shake off her touch; there was something about her grasp.

I’m a thin, pale person. My palms were always icy cold, and I appreciate warmth the way a tree would appreciate the sun. Her palms were warm, but she soothed something way more inside of me.

It was 9 pm, and later I checked the clock it became 12 am. My position changed by then; I wasn’t cold anymore, and I could bet I had a red flush on my cheeks. My mouth kept getting dry, but I hardly bought a second drink. My stomach only handled a bit. That touch of hers I was brainstorming about was now constantly there. Her left palm was stuck up to mine, and all her 5 fingers were wrapped in between my fingers. Her pinkie moved every now and then stroking the tip of my ring finger.

I didn’t look at our hands I only felt this. Our eyes were held for a long time that I forgot where we were, and she told me stories that never ended, just like how my interest never wandered. I was overwhelmed by an absurd sensation of attraction.

A part of me was paralysed by what I was doing. I hardly spoke through this all, and she didn’t seem to mind it. She understood me as if she knew me. Our state seemed to have lasted a lifetime, but something random distracted us both, and then she cleared her throat. It all ended.

She told me how she came from a close-by town, and how transportations were their worst at a late hour like this. I mentioned that my studio was 2 blocks away, and that she should stay the night. She considered my offer for a moment then nodded. We walked the way to my home in silence, side by side. I didn’t think about asking her what brought her here, all that I wondered about is what where we doing.

Sleep was a decay for a night like this. I lost my sleep partly because I had her, and partly because I didn’t know why. We spent it all talking; with her being closest to heart, and I didn’t mind it. She just seemed belonging to where she was.

Through it all, her hand was always there; brushing my fingers, wrist, elbow and so many vague places that only gave me warmth. I kept trembling; feeling out of place, although there was nothing sexual by what we did; she was just soothing me, and sharing that ocean of a life she came from.

She talked to me about feelings. Told me how they nurture her. How she lives to please those who feel for her, and be pleased back. She told me she is capable of loving so many for so long, and that there’s no such thing as “one and only” for her. I listened, with fascination and admiration. I’ve never met anyone like that, and if it was anyone else; I would have disbelieved her for seeming to decide to feel something for me the moment she first held my hand.

Throughout my uncertainty, I constantly thought of the way I lacked the way to real life. I never had a real friend, and I never knew that friends can really do love.

The woman I just met told me a hundred possibility of love; embedded everywhere, and she made it reasonable for anyone to end up being stuck for it, and losing all the sorts of reasoning. In my mind there was an echo that kept repeating a sentence “it’s not just you”. She had a privilege of a more sophisticated life. She knew what she wanted, and was not afraid of wandering wrong.

At noon; I woke up alone, and knew that she was a phantom. There was no one there, and every trace of her was gone. I dressed instantly, got out, passed the Café for my usual coffee and entered the Tattoo shop. From the workers’ stares at me, I knew I woke up with something new that day. I also knew that the spirit that visited me last night had the effect.

The first 3 customers passed just like any day; annoyingly slowly, with bad pain thresholds and stupid attitudes. I caught myself shouting at the workers as I noticed her, sitting in the waiting room; my next customer.

She didn’t seem to be surprised to see me the way I was, I asked her my first question; “What do you want?”, and she answered so teasingly, “a tattoo”, obviously knowing that it isn’t what I asked about.

“How do you want it?”, I asked. “The way you like it”, she said, and I marked the first time that someone EVER asked me for that. She took off her shirt, laid on her stomach, and gave me the whole spot of her lower back to compose my own design. I didn’t draw something big, her skin was olive brown, it looked great minus a tattoo color.

I drew a heart that is swollen and full, from the center of the heart; grew many plant-like lines that connected it to as many small hearts. The centered-heart was pale in black, the surrounding-hearts were colorful in red. “Is this your first tattoo?”, I asked. “No, my second”, and she didn’t show it – the way anyone on earth would do – and got dressed after eyeing it triumphantly. “Coming tonight?”, I answered rolling my eyes; “sure”. Then, the phantom of last night’s dreams left me the same way it did in the morning; in disbelief.

What I felt towards her would be described best in one word; Recognition. Still she was like no other. Surprisingly I felt lucky to be a tool for her to express a love affection. I needed to learn more about love.

9 o’clock that night I was right where I sat the night before. After giving her a tattoo, I knew that this encounter with her wasn’t just a one-night thing, and I found myself thinking of all the things I would share with her the way she did with me. A part of me kept checking up the clock, and hundred possibilities lacked me as I brainstormed the reasons for her delay.

I ordered sparkling water again, trying to relive every bit of last night. Fate didn’t fail me, 9:30, without permission; she took the same chair.

The second night she opened up more. She told me about a Man who visited her casually. She said he was a busy man with a big dream, and that he will always remain busy for everything but her. They were connected through the pact of marriage, and that he was out of the country for an errand. She came to this hood to get him something. That’s all she said about him.

I told her the story of my life; a 23 year old tattooist who started her career as an apprentice for an artist. I told her how the artist wasn’t like any other teacher. How he taught me every gesture with such guidance that he made me believe I could be everything. He told me he loved me, taught me love by gestures. He gave me everything but his presence. I told her the 4 words I failed articulating to myself “I will leave him”.

My surprise with my words wasn’t mutual. She thought it was the thing to do, and told me about the greatest secret to love; never give more. She said that any man on earth would come back from any place; back to the woman he loves. The one who didn’t give him everything yet.

I kept telling more, and we went back to my room; just like last night. This time there was no insecurity. I was never more certain of what I wanted; Guidance.

She asked “where is he now”, I said “New Zealand”, and just as my sentence ended; that grip beneath mine and her smooth fingerprints tickled mine abruptly while slipping far.

She started questioning the happenings of my story. Inquiry after the other; lastly she said “you’re Elle?”. She knew my name, but not my identity. I never knew her, or the big part she took away from my life. That recognition wasn’t faulty after all.

The man she so affectionately described, the one she so confidently stated was hers; was the very man that was taken from me. She shocked me, not because I knew she existed – as I felt he had someone all the long – it’s because I knew her, and loved her, and a part of me still wished for her to be happily ever after with him.

For all the years I loved him, a recessive part of me kept reminding me of his ill doings. That part at this moment turned dominant. I hated him for the first time, and wanted to erase that existence I craved for immediately as to not lose this one I just met, and loved, and knew that either I was lonely or in love, I will always be fulfilled by her.

All the tranquility she showed since I met her vanished. There she was, the same woman as last night, only with opposite certainty and a trembling voice. She showed me the tattoo he gave her. It was our design. She also knew it was. She said she knew about me from the beginning, and thought I was just a slip. At one point he promised that he was done with me, and she believed him.

With both curtains being down, a shocking silence followed, and she just left.

So now days had passed, and only because I was who I was; I am condemned into being far from my soulmates. No one I would have seemed to change the fact that I am Elle. Not even time will.

I still go to the shop everyday even on Sundays. I have new friends where I enjoy company, but there’s still a crack deep inside – don’t know where exactly – where I question the fate’s orders to keep me as deprived as I’ve always been, then stumble me down with another fulfillment of which had left more deprivation. Two people who loved me. Two people I love. Two people who loved each others, and both left me.

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