The Girl With Tattoo
The Girl With Tattoo11 mins 505 11 mins 505
The girl was sitting at the nearby seat. Her head dipped under a book. I don’t know the title. But I could see the small tattoo on her left shoulder made in red and black and green ink. It was a little bird I guess. And it looked marvelous. And the curve of her shoulder brought that bird to life. Was it a real bird? I thought not.
She just turned her head towards me for an instant. I think she has noticed that I am continuously gazing at her shoulder at the tattoo.
I wondered if she had any other tattoos on her body. But, I guess that would be offensive to ask her.
The train is one hour late. And there aren’t many people here, at this late hour of night. Most of them are asleep. And I have nothing better to do, while she can’t stop reading her book. I wondered how great it would be if we could have a little conversation and pass our time until the train arrives.
She turned her head again in my direction, and this time she didn’t turn it back. Now she is looking at me intently. I turned my face other side guiltily. And as I turned back to look at her, she was still gazing at me unblinkingly. Was she furious with my attitude? I didn’t know.
All this gazing and looking at each other was getting a little too awkward. So I waved my right palm in her direction only slightly, out of fear. I didn’t want her to misinterpret my gestures. She didn’t wave her hand back. But she kept looking unblinkingly, and there was no smile on her face either. It was such a late hour of night on that station. Not too many people. And the girl was all alone by herself. But, she was making me scared with her gaze now. She continued to look at me for some time when she finally stood up from her place and began pacing in my direction, keeping her eyes fixed on my eyes. I couldn’t dare ask her, whatever in the name of Merlin, was she planning to do.
Without saying a single word she took a seat right next to me.
She leaned a little close to my face and looking straight into my eyes she asked, “Do you like my tattoo?”
And I didn’t know what to do. Although it was a bit strange but I finally gave it a go and replied, “Yes! It’s beautiful.” And I passed her a smile, hoping to get one in return. But, no smile came from her.
She had dark green eyes, fair complexion, dark brown for hair, and she was wearing a black sleeveless top. On her left wrist was a bracelet of white beads. And as mysterious she was acting she was quite beautiful for that. But she was making me a little uncomfortable.
Also she had no luggage with her. For someone waiting for a train at 2 am of night, and to have no luggage at all, well it’s really odd. Besides, she was a girl and all alone by herself.
I couldn’t resist asking her and said, “Where are you going? Where is your luggage? Are you all alone here?” And I waited for the answer.
But she was still looking into my eyes quite intently, without any sign of hearing my questions. She had closed her book and put it aside.
“Do you want to touch it?” she asked in a whisper.
“What?” A little surprised I asked her.
“Do you want to touch my tattoo?” she said again in her cold voice.
I couldn’t help wonder about the suggestion. And the only thought that crossed my mind was to go away from her. I didn’t reply, and turned my face to the other side.
Next instant I felt her hand holding my right hand, raising it in air to place it on her left shoulder right over the place where her tattoo was.
I couldn’t figure out if it was her skin of the real feathers or the skin of a bird I was touching. It felt like I was holding a real bird. But, that wasn’t possible. It was quite weird. I withdrew my hand and moved a little backwards from her. My head was flooding with too many questions and doubts but I didn’t dare ask any.
The girl didn’t buzz in her attempts at all. She leaned closer to me again and locking her eyes with mine, she asked again, “Are you afraid of me?”
Now that she mentioned it, a slight wave of fear passed through my veins. I asked her back, “Should I be?”
I saw a twitch of her lips and the curve of her cheeks fading away so quickly that no one could have noticed that sweet fading smile on her face. But I saw it, that she finally smiled, only if it was just for a fraction of a second.
She replied, “Well, given the situation, the late night hour, all alone, waiting at a secluded station, and on top of that you find a girl with a real bird tattoo and she acts like a real weirdo. I guess that is a perfect horror setting to scare the pants of anyone.” And I saw another smile come and slither away from her face.
She was perfectly right in saying so. And perhaps that was exactly the reason of my being a little scared of her.
“I think there’s no reason for you to be afraid of me,” she whispered in my ear.
What would you do in such a situation? I had absolutely no idea. I had to catch a train which I couldn’t afford to miss. And this girl is not going to leave me any soon, I thought to myself.
“Well, I guess I have to take your word for it,” I replied to her. And thus she made me feel a little comfortable and a little less scared now. And since we had plenty of time to spend there all alone by ourselves, I thought of making a little conversation.
“So,” I asked her, “where are you going, by the way?” It was a normal question. But her reply caught me by surprise again.
“Who said I am going anywhere?” she replied in a little casual tone. And this time there was a perfect smile on her face, long enough for anyone to notice. But, there wasn’t anyone else to notice that except me.
“So you are not going anywhere?” I asked a little baffled. Why would anyone, in the name of Merlin, be at a station, at such a late hour of night when they don’t actually have to catch a train?
“Nope,” she replied, “I am not going anywhere.”
I didn’t say anything further. But I guess she had read my mind which was flooding with doubts and ideas. So she continued her reply, “Well, I am not here to catch any train. I am here because I am waiting for someone.”
And I thought to myself, “that explains why ain’t she carrying any luggage.” And I took a little sigh of relief.
“Whom are you waiting for then?” I asked her.
And she kept looking at me for a while. She didn’t reply. And she looked sad.
I tried again, “Hey. Aren’t you afraid of being alone at such a late hour of night? Why didn’t you bring anybody else with you?”
She then raised both her hands and was now looking at her palms. Whatever was she looking at her palms for, I couldn’t guess, and had no intention of knowing that either.
She finally opened her mouth again and began talking. “Oh, I’m not afraid at all. This place is just like a home to me, you know. My home is only nearby at a walking distance from here. And I live all alone,” having said it all she was now again gazing at me, “Part of the reason that I’m not afraid that easily,” she finished.
Although, whatever she said made a little sense, but I thought there was still something peculiar about that girl. I raised my left hand to look at the time on my watch. It was only 2:30 am. The train was still due to come after around 90 minutes, only if it is not delayed any further. It had already been announced three times in only last half hour that the possible arrival time of train is around 4 am.
There was plenty of time that I thought of taking a short nap. But, it seemed that it was only me who thought that way. That weird girl was in no mood of doing any such thing. It was only a minute later I came to know what was she thinking about.
“Hey!” she began, “It seems there’s plenty of time. Let’s go to my place and have a cup of coffee.” having said that, she was already picking up my bag and beginning to move.
I quickly reached in time to grab a handle of my bag from her grip and began, “Hey! Hey! Hey! I don’t think I’m going anywhere with you now. I am perfectly alright here.” And I tried to snatch the bag out of her grip. But, she didn’t budge.
“Oh! C’mon now.” She began saying, “it’s gonna be fine. We have been waiting here for quite a long time. Long enough to get tired. We would come back after having a little bit of coffee.” And reading my doubts of innocent mind, she said with a slight smile and seriousness in her voice, “Don’t worry, dear. I assure you that you would be fine. I won’t eat you or kill you.”
She was adamant. And with a sudden jerk of her hand she pulled the bag out of my grab and already began pacing in the left direction of the platform. And, I had no choice but to follow that weirdo, wherever she was going to take me. And all I could think to myself was that, Boy! This night just keep getting weirder every second.
“Hey! Wait. Hey you weird girl! Stop right now!” I kept shouting from behind trying to get her to stop and give my bag back to me. “Hey. Please stop!”
And for a second she stopped and turned her head to look at my sweating face. She finally said in her assuring voice,
“What are you so afraid of?”
“Oh! I am not really afraid of anything. It’s just–”
“Are you afraid of me?”
“I umm, well, not really, umm–”
“Ohh! You think I am a ghost or some kind of evil spirit? Is that what you think of me?”
“WHAT!! I… I, umm, I….. I don’t…. know…” And the girl kept looking at my eyes. And I had not the faintest idea as to what should I think of her. Besides I didn’t really believe in ghosts or spirits.
For a second I looked into her eyes. She looked sad and a little disappointed.
“I am really sorry,” I said, “I don’t really believe in ghosts. It’s just a little peculiar and hard to digest all this.”
“Well,” said the girl, “I guess it’s not your fault.”
She dropped the bag on the platform. She was now looking down and she continued in her broken voice, “I might have grown my expectations a little too much from a stranger. I know that I look weird with this real bird tattoo on my shoulder. It’s been a long time since I had such a long conversation with some Real Person. And I thought you would like to have a cup of coffee with me.” Then she raised her head and looked straight into my eyes.
Her gaze was deep. I noticed myself, trapped into two tiny white pearls of her eyes. And then I saw the tiny figure of the girl trapped in the eyes of the one trapped in those two pearls of her eyes. And then in her eyes, I saw myself trapped further deep, and then she, and then I, and I saw infinite reflections of herself into me and myself into her. And it was impossible to tell who was trapped into whom.
As I found myself trapped into that infinite loop, I lost the touch of reality for… I don’t know for how long. But, it felt like I’m swimming in an infinite ocean with white shining water. And I kept swimming and swimming. But, there was no end to it. And, I thought I would never come out of it. And as I went deeper and deeper and farther and farther, I was feeling more hopeful. I had no idea what I was hoping for. But it felt really wonderful to feel hopeful for something, or maybe hopeful for nothing.
As I surrendered myself fully into that infinite white ocean and to get finally lost into oblivion, I saw a figure. I saw a figure emerging from the infinitude of that oblivion and it was reaching towards me. It was her. She extended her arm towards me. I noticed her tattoo once again. It was indeed a real bird. She held my wrist with her hand, and with a jerk she pulled me out of that infinite ocean.
That oblivion had gone. And I knew that the girl too had gone.
And the next thing I remember is the loud siren of the approaching train. I woke up from. I don’t remember sleeping. I looked around for the girl. There was no one.
The train stopped finally.
I stood up to grab my bag. And then only I noticed it: A beautiful green feather of a bird, resting upon my bag.
With one hand I picked that beautiful feather and holding the bag with another, I ran for my compartment in the train.
When I finally settled on my seat and the train gave another loud siren and finally began to move, I began admiring the feather.
Was it a dream or real? I couldn’t say. But, the feather was real. And I remembered her holding my wrist to pull me out. I still could feel her touch.
In admiration I held my wrist with other hand, and I noticed something different. When I finally looked at it, there it was: the proof.
She had left a note written on my wrist in red:
“May be you would like to have a coffee with me, next time. We will meet again!”