Skin lightly touches my own; I can feel it. On my back, in between my shoulder blades, on my tattoo. The tattoo I am always aware of—as aware of as any other part of my body—despite the fact that I have never, due to its location, seen it, except in mirrors and photographs.

It feels like a finger, or maybe a palm; I can’t quite tell. My senses—or rather, their memory, as the touch is gone as quickly as it came—focus on that spot and then I think it was the back of a hand.

It has always been my desire, when someone touches my tattoo in such a sensual and yet brief and therefore harmless way, to remain facing away from them, to see what they do next and if I can figure out who it is. As though I wish to use my other senses to connect with the physical space around me, rather than use my tired, overused eyes. As though the eyes of the dragonfly inked into the skin of my back will see for me.

I always forget that, though, the few times this actually happens; instead I invariably end up turning around to face them in a moment of pure unfortunate reaction.

I turn around, in a moment of pure unfortunate reaction.

I should have known it was you. I think I would have guessed it, if I’d stayed facing away, which I do regret.


—No worries.

—I didn’t mean…

—To touch me?


—It’s okay.

—I was just noticing your tattoo.

—I know.

—The detail…

—You can keep looking; I don’t mind.

I turn away.


2 responses to “Harmless

  1. The Wood Nymph

    The subtle changes have made the piece much clearer. I think that you could certainly extend this if you want. The mystery and loneliiness (along with the potential for human connection) that are wrapped up in thisa simple incident are relatable without being familiar.

  2. Thanks, The Wood Nymph. I would like to extend it, or develop the characters somewhere else, something; hopefully I will get some more material for this one soon.

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