I think my new tattoo is haunted.
Either that or my little sister was getting creative with the inspirational notes. I had woken up early to wash my face in the bathroom when I noticed the words Mujer Fuerte scrawled across my mirror in red lipstick.
However, this elegant cursive lettering could not have been created by my sister. As much as she practiced calligraphy her writing remained as messy as our parakeet’s food bowl. It could have been mom. But mom wasn’t the kind of person to leave surprise messages.
I pressed my finger into the waxy writing and dragged it down expecting the pigment to follow the trail I was creating. But it had dried matte just like this red lipstick I had bought on impulsive last year and then lost quickly after.
I wouldn’t have thought this was a result of my new tattoo but ever since I got the image of Frida Kahlo on the inside of my arm I’ve had this weird feeling pooling deep in my stomach. It was similar to the feeling I got after visiting abuela’s gravestone on Christmas. A sort of comforting spiritual energy.
Contrary to what my mother believed this tattoo had been concocted in a sober state of mind. Although my emotional state was a bit questionable. I had just caught my boyfriend Diego making out with Ashley, a freshman from our history class. After punching his drink out of his hand and flipping him my luckiest finger I had driven to the closet tattoo shop in the area.
Clearly, Diego had gotten the message because I didn’t see a text from him after that. I did receive a text message from an unknown number that read “I’m so sorry I didn’t know!” with crying emojis. Although I was trying to keep a tough face I did feel worse knowing Diego not only played me but this poor girl too.
I felt mad for Ashley. She was intelligent and kind. And she had a smile that inspired poets, full of light and contagious. Ashley kind of reminded me of lighting bugs in the way she flashed her smile at everyone. And from what I overheard Ashley was looking to date around while she was in college. It was wrong that Ashley smiled dimmed a little after the whole incident.
It made me want to punch another coffee out of Diego’s hand for ruining someone else’s happiness.
I hadn’t even known what tattoo I wanted. The anger I felt at Diego was simmering in my veins, but I wanted to get something for me. Something to remember that I was not going to let the end of this relationship also be the end of my happiness. So while I waited to get tatted up I did a quick search on for cute tattoos. I first saw a tattoo of a calla lily done beautifully up the arm with the flower blooming on the bicep but then a flash of red made my eyes leave the flower and travel to an outline of Frida. The tattoo was only of half of Frida’s face and devoid of eyes but Frida wasn’t known for her eyes. The tat had her unibrow drawn in a thick line that resembled a bird in flight and her hair was in an elegant up do style and framed by two beautiful roses. So of course I went with that one.
I stared at my mirror one last time. As weird as it was I was unable to contain the smile that managed to slip onto my lips.
After that, I started dreaming of Frida. In my first dream with Frida, she had loaned me one of her flowy dresses and we danced and twirled in the middle of the street. Men shouted at us from their windows, but Frida didn’t seem to care. So, I didn’t either.
After that first dream, I began to dust off the dresses I had shoved in the back of my closet. Once puberty hit I became self-conscious about wearing dressing always worried that I have a wardrobe malfunction. But after my dance with Frida, I had forgotten how amazing it felt to not have my legs confined to jeans.
I had more dreams of her, Frida showing me how to put on lipstick, Frida adorning my head with a crown of flowers, painting alongside Frida.
The dreams became more vivid and the messages on the mirror continued. I began to feel better. After my initial breakup with Diego, a small root of sadness had intertwined its vines into my heart. But the daily messages from Frida began to make me feel confident in myself. I began to pour more effort into my appearance not to show Diego what he was missing but for me. People noticed. I forgave the freshman girl, Ashley, and we became friends.
“You’ve changed Rosa,” Ashley commented to me one day after lunch while we touched up lipstick in the restroom.
“Have I?” I raised an eyebrow at her through the mirror. Our gazes met, and she gave me a slow curling smile. The kind that made my belly feel like it was harboring a tequila worm. I hadn’t expected this new crush to form so quickly but as I continued to hang out with Ashley I could not stop myself from liking her and wanting to flash her my own light inducing smile.
“Yeah. You’re more confident. You’ve started to match your clothes, and now you’re wearing lipsticks. When school first started your style was more about comfort and I never saw you talk to anyone. It’s not a bad thing,” Ashley tossed her lipstick into a pocket of her school bag then flashed another smile at the mirror, although she was checking her teeth for her lipstick, I like to believe that smile was for me.
“Actually, I have a little secret.”
“I think my new tattoo is haunted.”