Dear Ray: An Essay Tribute to Ray Bradbury.

I walked slowly down Belmont Ave towards the tattoo parlor, taking my time with every step. It was two days after Christmas and unnaturally warm for winter, so I was enjoying the muggy air and the soft breeze. When I arrived at the Chicago Tattooing Company, I loitered around outside, staring in through the big window like a poor, orphaned child. The shop was empty and I knew once I went in I would be able to get my tattoo right away. I paced around the front for another five minutes or so before finally walking in the door. When I got my first tattoo – a small comic book speech bubble on my wrist that took about five minutes to do – I had a friend with me. Now, I was alone and, even though I wasn’t afraid of getting a tattoo, I wished I had someone there to share the moment with.

I walked up to the girl at the front and just stood there, staring at her, almost afraid to make the first move. She looked up slowly from her book with an eyebrow raised.

“May I help you?” she asked, as if I had disturbed her. Her arms were covered in tattoos, in all different colors, and she had long blonde hair with streaks of purple all over the place. She had a small ring in the middle of her lip which made her lips pout a bit more than normal.

“I’m sorry.” I finally muttered. “I wanted to get this tattooed around my wrist.” I laid the sentence that I had printed off my computer out in front of her. She picked it up and read it, her facial expression never-changing.

“And how big do you want it?” she asked, without looking at me.

“That’s how big I want it.”

“Okay, well let me make a copy and we’ll see if it fits around your wrist.”

“Actually, I already made sure it did.”

She finally smiled a bit and went to the copy machine behind her and turned back around, asking me to hold out my wrist. I did and she wrapped it around; Sure enough, it fit perfectly around, just like a bracelet. She laughed a little bit and I was relieved to have broken her wall.

“Perfect. You really thought this through, didn’t you?” she asked.

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