The Tattoo…

A changing of the shifts.
Her henna dry.
And a chance meeting with Mr. Lucas, a Pfister icon.
Dressed in a baby blue sport coat, he greets them all by name.

It was a Wednesday and Kelly and I were sitting at the bar. She was here on her day off for henna, something we talked about the day we met— she had been bartending and was full of life.

We talked about chai, henna, and storytelling.
“You should come in on a Sunday,” she told me. 
“And meet Laurette. She has been coming to the Pfister every Sunday afternoon for the last 5 or 6 years. She can tell you stories.”

She moved behind the bar quickly.
Making drinks and talking with guests. 
Greeting some by name and all of them with a friendly smile and an offer to get them whatever they need.
In between, she asked me about henna.
Telling me she will bring her girlfriends, her “bffs in life.”
But she loves henna and could not wait for her girlfriends.

So we met.
Just the two of us.
Sitting again at the lobby bar.
This time, we were both on the other side.

She ordered a water. A gingerale. And a sparkling water.
Adam was behind the bar and we had to laugh.
His gentle and kind spirit set the tone.
I took her hand. And began.

Creating intricate patterns and designs in the tradition of my ancestors, she let me decorate her hand.
And as I did, she told me stories.

Stories of her grandpa, her inspiration.
And of being at his bedside when he passed.

In her phone, her mom is “mommy.” 
Her dad is “Pops.” 
Her sister, “Kayla Mary” and her brother, “Marky.”

She is 28 and has seen a lot of death in her life.
She lost her best friend. Her boyfriend. Nick, the month before she was to turn 20.
Her tattoo of the sun is for him.

Her hand still in mine.
I am reminded, as I so often am.
Of the mystery and beauty of the human spirit.