I was inspired by Teagan’s Wednesday writing / photo prompt. I am a big fan of “Brother Love” and was intrigued that the prompt took her back to a familiar place. So, just as Teagan did, I closed my eyes to see what would come up for me.
“Pinkie Swear?” Pearl stuck out her little finger and scrunched up her nose waiting for a response.
”Yes, yes, I promise.”
“Pinkie Swear. Now are you happy?” Pearl was a fierce and demanding friend. The best of the lot. How could I do anything but agree?
So the deal was sealed. At 21, no matter where we were or what we were doing, we would get a tattoo. Not ‘a’ tattoo, ‘the’ tattoo. Two circles linked together with a delicate chain.
“No matter what we do or where we go, we will always be connected.”
All my friends told me about finding pennies, or seeing butterflies or cardinals that they knew were signs from loved ones who had crossed over. I hated that phrase. They died. They were gone. The coroner said Pearl died of ‘natural causes’. She just ‘slipped away’ in her sleep. How many 19 year olds die of natural causes? Pearl was dead. There were no signals from ‘beyond’. No butterflies, no cardinals, no shiny pennies. Just a hollow emptiness.
My friends insisted we go out for my first ‘legal drink’ to celebrate my birthday renting a stretch limo for the occasion. As I stepped out of the limo, I saw the neon sign across the street. “This is the sign you’ve been looking for” A string of small shops lined the street below the sign. In the middle of them a tattoo parlor. There was Pearl, bright and beaming in the night. I had my sign.
“Come on you guys, I have something to do!” They thought I was crazy as I ran into the tattoo shop. I pulled out the old sketch I always carried in my wallet and laid it on the counter. I closed my eyes and whispered under my breath “Pinkie Swear”.
Thank you, Teagan, for being my Wednesday muse. This was a welcome challenge.