After the festivities, I came home and told my brother, "I want to get a tattoo."
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Absolutely," I told him.
So the following Saturday, he drove me back to The Rabbit Hole with his girlfriend, Megan—a mousy, heavyset twenty-year-old brunette who for some reason looked up to me, even though I knew nothing about life or how to move through it. As soon as we walked in, I saw a big sign over the counter: MUST BE 18 OR OVER. I ignored it and pulled my lips taut over my teeth, so that my braces wouldn't show.
A door behind the counter opened and out walked a slim, well-pierced, five-foot-ten-inch man with a ghostly pale complexion, spiky chestnut hair, and a Satanic-looking goatee. Sleeves of tattoos, mostly of Chinese characters and tribal patterns, ran up his arms and spiraled around his neck. He looked like trouble. I recognized him from the party because I'd met him and his girlfriend there.
"What do you want?" he asked me.
I looked up at the wall and saw two little overlapping red hearts. I bent forward over the counter, trying to show my breasts, hoping that if I worked it a little he wouldn't question my age. "I want to get those hearts done," I told him as coquettishly as I could manage with my lips curled over my teeth.
"Where?" he asked.
I needed to put it someplace where my father couldn't see it. I'm not sure whether I was scared that he would react to it or, even worse, that he wouldn't. "On my butt cheek?" I replied nervously.
"No problem," he said. "Follow me."
I was awestruck: I didn't expect it to be that easy. My brother's unoriginal girlfriend decided on the spot that she wanted to get the hearts too and followed us back…