Chapter Twelve: Like Collecting Baseball Cards

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Chapter Twelve: Like Collecting Baseball Cards

Just like I had begun the evening, my back was currently pressed against my mattress. Unlike the parallel moment before dinner had transpired, my eyes were now closed, and I wasn’t the only being in my room with a working pulse. Now, another individual was also inhaling the circulated air of my beloved bedroom. My hands remained by my sides as I tried my hardest to regulate my breathing and try to calm myself from the internal turmoil I was facing.

      Abruptly, I felt the bed dip down marginally, a weight being applied. Something fleshy (most likely flesh) brushed across my arm, causing my eyes to jolt open. I quickly sat up, and stared incredulously at the boy who had decided to drop down next to me. Shaking my head, I noticed that he had taken his signature jacket of cowhide (it looked too expensive to be faux) off. He was now wearing nothing on his torso but a thin white tank top that was ribbed, exposing his shoulders, on which my eyes met an interesting sight I had never seen before.

      “You have tattoos,” I said, articulating my thoughts as I visually traced over his multicolored biceps. There were so many prints of ink that I couldn’t concentrate on one place in particular to look.

      “You have brown hair,” Luke stated in a dull tone.

      “Yeah, but my hair isn’t always covered,” I returned, noting that the permanent pigment stopped right above his elbows. “You seem like the type of guy who would have both of his entire arms done—why don’t you?”

      “Because I don’t like it when people judge me,” he rested his hands on his stomach, his body still trapping me between him and the wall. “If I were to have tattoos everywhere, then people would take one look at me and instantly judge me. By just having them on my shoulders and stuff, then I can still wear a T-shirt without getting pegged to be a drug dealer.”

      “Huh,” I muttered, his rationalization making more than enough sense. He didn’t want to get judged right away, so made a conscious life choice while being in the midst of scaring his body eternally. For doing such a stupid thing, his thinking was relatively reasonable. “So, when did you get them?”

      “I got my first one when I was sixteen, and then it became kind of like collecting baseball cards or something, I guess,” he shared. “The more I got, the more I wanted.”

      “Please don’t tell me that the majority of them are from drunken or high states,” I remarked.

      “Only two are from when I was drunk,” he told me, a specific print catching my eyes. It was a jumble of letters, but I couldn’t quite make out what it meant. English wasn’t the language, and though I knew that I had seen it in the past, I couldn’t quite think of where. It was in black ink, formed in a small rectangle with what looked like about four words. I liked the look of it, but didn’t understand it.

      “What’s that one?” I questioned, doing a very un-Olivia thing and touching the skin where the words were on his shoulder.

      Not sitting up, he merely twisted his head to look at where I was pointing. A smile took his face as he looked at. “Irony,” was how he answered.

      “It means ‘irony’?”

      “No, it is irony,” he laughed. “It says ‘hakol nereh yafeh b’ivrit,’ which roughly translates to ‘everything looks better in Hebrew.’”

      “I don’t get it,” I said stiffly, finding it nice to stare at, but not understanding the literary connection.

      “That’s the point,” he smirked. “I have spent a lot of time in tattoo parlors over the years, and I noticed that Hebrew and, like, Chinese are both popular languages for people to get tattooed onto their skin,” he paused, glancing at the words yet again. “Now, generally, the people getting the tattoos don’t speak the languages, but just get them anyways because they think that they’re ‘pretty’ or look cool.”

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