47.2 - Spring 2018

Page 99

Thad is tidying the weeping edges—seeping fluid, bloody trace— then giving me a spiel about Saniderm, the bandage he adheres over the fresh tattoo. The Beach Boys are still playing on the stereo: “Feel Flows” [this time I recognize the song]. My right forearm throbs with heat. On the inside, immunity is kicking in already. Pressing back against the biting and the plumbing, against the newly married ink and skin. On the outside, I am smiling and saying thank you. I am gathering my things, pausing for a moment to roll up my sleeve, examining the gnarled roots, the fishhook branches, the way the textured foliage reaches and warps as if imbued with salt and wind. I swipe my credit card in the machine, taking quick note of the time: 1:38PM. I sign the digital receipt like this: my finger, just a single curl of black. I scoop the bucket of my green knit hat over my hair and snap the buttons of my coat. And then I turn my back, and turn the handle of the door, and open my umbrella to the rain.



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