Turn around, please.

My friends giggle as I lay back in the chair. I can’t quiet smile, even though I want to look like this is totally ok with me. The ceiling tiles are peeling in sections and I wonder whether any of it has ever fallen on someone before.

The man comes around to the side of the chair and looks at me over his moustache and beard.

‘You ready?’

I nod and bite my lip, not trusting myself to say anything right now. I want to back out. I hated the idea to start with. But then I remind myself why I agreed to do it. I need attention from some of the guys at school. Well, one of them anyway. And the social dance is tomorrow. It’s my chance to wear a midriff.

The man pulls on a pair of gloves and picks up a pair of long scissor type things.

I take a deep breath and look back up at the flaking ceiling, begging myself to be brave and hold still.

I flinch when the alcohol wipe touches my belly.

Then his fingers start pulling at the skin and he starts working with the tool. My breath comes in sharp pulls as I hold the straps of my bra, determined not to pull out now that he has started. After a minute, he pauses to pick up the silver piece with the sapphire. I wanted to look like a gypsy princess when I picked it out. As he holds it, the sapphire catches the light and I look at it again before it goes into my belly button.

He pushes the bar through the small hole he made and I know there is a small tear running down my face. Thank God it’s on the side away from my friends. They are still standing there, giggling away like I’m just buying a chocolate bar. Don’t they know this is permanent?

After another tug on my skin, the piercing is complete and my belly button has a bright blue jewel sitting in it.

I look down and then relax back, relieved that it’s over.

 

As I dress for the dance, I pull out the white halter neck I had set aside. It’s an old one that was too short so I trimmed the bottom and decided to embrace its new length and call it a midriff. I stand in front of my mirror, staring at my reflection. White halter, denim shorts and ballet flats. It’s a lot of skin, but that was the point. I flick my new belly button ring and watch the sparkles catch the light.

Then I look up and notice my Dad standing in the doorway. By his expression, I know he’s seen the belly ring I was going to hide from him.

He turns around, ready to walk away from me. But I need the confrontation. I need him to get angry at me and tell me how disappointed he is. I need to know he cares.

‘Dad, wait,’ I don’t know what to say after that so I just look at him.

His heads bows as his hand rises. I know what he is doing. He always rubs his eyes when he doesn’t know what to do.

‘I’m sorry, I really wanted it. It’s not like I got a tattoo.’

I want so much for him to care about me. But he’s always thought I was a lost cause. I guess I’m just proving his point.

‘Turn around, please.’

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. kate says:

    love it jen!

  2. Johnny Boy says:

    Great emotive writing. Congrats! Made me recall my response to my daughter’s!

    1. jennicurry says:

      Thanks. Good to hear I had the right response. 🙂

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