He walks away to prep. Coming back with the stenciled tattoo. “It looks awesome!” He places it on my right side. The rose surrounded by thorns was an awesome idea. The tattoo looks more amazing on my side then on the paper.

“Before we start Ariana,” he said while turning on the needle. “This is a tattoo is free, so I can build my portfolio. In exchange thought I want you to let go of your feelings.”

Giving a weird look I say, “sure?”

He begins to tattoo. The thoughts of the augment I had with my parents before this come back. How they don’t listen or ask how I’m doing. The just want their little girl to be a scholar. What about I want, does that even matter? I made it back home after the tattoo. I went straight to my room since my parents weren’t home.

The next morning Without replying I walk out and head to school. I went to school and was having a normal day. With me that is not talking to anyone, getting made fun of and ignoring it, going to math and asking myself what language the teacher is speaking. During lunch I got a call form my dad. He called to let me know mom was in a car accident and in the hospital in critical condition. Later that night my mom passed away.

When we got home, I look at my dad. “I’m going out,” I said.

“Well…okay, please be safe. It’s late don’t be too long,” he said without lifting his head to me.

I leave for the journey through the woods behind our house. With not destination I’m mind I pick the way furthest away from house, and people. I found a stump with a single beam of moon light hitting it. I look up, “Are you telling me to sit here,” I say as I sit down.

            I start to think about everything in my life. How at school I have no friends and get picked on because I don’t have the same cloths as the other girls. My math class that I am failing. I ask for help but get none. Then the fight I got into with my parents. Telling them they don’t listen and care about my feelings. The things I said to them burned in my memory. Sitting on the stump I stare down at me shoes luminated by the moon light. My vision gets blurry from tears forming. Without closing my eyes, I watch the tears fall onto the dirt and disappear. My feelings of losing my mom surface.

            I look up at the moon still having tears run down my face. I let out a howl of pain as being to cry hysterically. My tattoo beings to have a burning sensation. The intensity grows the more hysterical I get. The sensation grows to feeling like my side is on fire. Grabbing my side, I fall off the stump onto the dirt. Still crying the dirt sticks to my face.  From the physical and the emotional pain, I can’t pull my self together. I grip my side harder, as if to claw my skin off to stop the burning. Screaming from the pain, I lose my breath a moment as I vomit.

            After what seemed to be hours, I pull myself together. Holding my side, the whole way home. I make it home and get into the shower. As I get under dressed to get in, in the mirror I notice my tattoo has changed. One of the roses peddles have fallen onto a thorn. Did I miss it? I couldn’t have.

            The next day I skipped school and went to the tattoo shop. Going in I ask for J, the man that did the tattoo. J comes around to the front. “What the hell did you do to me J?”

“I assume you’re asking about the tattoo?” he says with a smile.

“Yes, the damn tattoo. Why did it feel like my side was on fire last night? Oh, and to add why did a peddle fall off onto the thorn?”

“I told you to let go of your feelings, did I not? What caused you so much emotional pain?” As he walks us out of the building.

“My mom dying. That does explain crap thought!”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” While I am looking at him, he gestures to the upper part of the building. Him still looking at me, I look toward where he is pointing. The name of the shop Losing Exchange.

            “I can’t return your feelings, nor can I take away the tattoo. You must learn how to live without emotion. If you don’t, every time you are emotionally hurt, you will have physical pain as well. A rose peddle will fall onto a thorn causing the pain,” he says while walking away.

            A life without emotion is hard. Even though I was trying to do it before. Letting go of emotions is hard. Having emotional and physical pain is overwhelming. I guess this would be what a broken heart physically feels like, not just emotionally.

Skyler Thornberry from Florida. Has served four years in the Marine Corps. He is an emerging writer.