My heartbeat couldn't decide between flatlining or bursting out of my chest. There I was, standing in the Chicago train station while listening to the voices around me echo off the marble walls. Chatter fluttered between each character in the wide room and it only caused the anxiety withing to rise. The day before I had been in the small city of Plymouth Wisconsin but the day after I would be so far away, and here I stood in the present. Somewhere in between. Over the loudspeakers, the the voice rang, “the California-Zephyr train number 5 leaves at boards at 1:30.” Although filled with excitement for the adventure ahead, it felt impossible. Never would I have thought that I would be waiting for a train to take me a thousand miles away from home, to a place I had only seen pictures of. To do it all alone was heart wrenching, but for now I had him. My rock and my safe place. Brian. Brian is a wonderful man I have been blessed to have in my life. He was not yet my boyfriend but not just a friend either. This trip would soon proceed to test the strengths of our current situation but I had high hoped for whatever may come in the future. He had picked me up from my house in plymouth the night before. Me hugging my mother for it would be the first time I will be so far from her. He and I headed down to Milwaukee for the night in order to avoid a two hour drive the next morning. The car ride already began to make my bones quiver but the lighthearted music seemed to sooth them. After a wistful sleep we had awoke before the sun rose and began our day. An hour and a half more in the car lead us to a college to the north of Chicago. We sat at the base of a tree and watched the sun rise over the vast Lake Michigan. The clouds created moving sculptures in the distance that illuminated with the gleam of the sunlight. With the skyline in the view down the coast, everything seemed perfect. Once we made it into town he took me on the first part of my adventure. We walked around to various tourist locations in downtown chicago before heading to the train station across the river. We arrived over an hour before I needed to be there and ate lunch. Once they called for my train to board, we gave each other a long hug and separated as I followed the line. I had only been on one other train so far in the twenty years I have been alive. This would be the start of many. I followed the others as they climbed the stairs to the top section of the train. From there it was just a matter of finding my seat and placing my bag over head. Not everyone knew I was leaving but those who did assumed I was crazy for only taking a single backpack along with me but it has its own reason. Traveling shouldn't be weighed down by all the luggage you might want to take or think you might need. I took the necessities and it was all that I needed. As the train filled, the seat next to mine had remained empty. That was a comfort to me for I was not too accustomed to sitting alongside strangers for long periods of time and I didn’t feel like starting now. The train rocked into motion and a flush of calmness rushed over me. It wasn’t a feeling fear but it was the sense that I have started my journey and the control was out of my hands. No turning back.
The first part of the train seemed extensive and long before we left the city. At that moment I said goodbye to the area I had at least had an attachment to in some way shape or form, and hello to the unknown. After remaining into my seat until Chicago was a sight no longer seen, I felt a tap on the back of my seat. I turned around to see a guy my age holding a deck of uno cards. He told me that he and a friend were planning on playing the game but needed a third person so offered company. The train was to last 17 hours and surely I was not going to sit in the same seat the whole time so I said “why not.”I stood up, grabbed my camera and followed him though the doors that connect the different sections of the train. From there we were in a different room I hadn't known existed. The observation car. The room was filled with windows that stretched from the floor to the roof. At our end there were seats facing the outside, filled with people viewing the scenery. We passed them and went to the other side of the cart which had restaurant style booths. The guy sat down next to a girl so I sat across the table. “Dan,” he introduced himself. She proceeded to tell me her name was Rachel. Thus the game begun. As we played, we talked. I learned many things about these individuals I had considered strangers. He a music fanatic, and she a biologist. The pair were headed back to their home, Omaha Nebraska. She had just changed majors in college and also planned on changing careers but decided to take a trip out to Chicago with Dan to see his favorite music group, “Lany”. Dan is a musician himself,still working on getting everything together. For hours we talked. Uno turned to cards. Cards turned to magic tricks. Magic tricks turned to more conversation. Before we knew it, time had passed and dinner was afoot. I had not plans for what meal I would have but they invited me to join them in the dining car. Our reservation had been created between a game of kings corners and a discussion about transportation. At six we went to the door and were seated by members of staff. It was quite incredible. A cart on a train moving across the country that still had the sit-in-restaurant feel. The menu was not vast but there was enough. The prices were created by the allowance for an upcharge since they could and you had to eat. Being me, I ordered the vegetable pasta dish and a glass of water that still rang up to a whopping $17.00. With the seven noodle pieces and smashed peas in watery tomato paste, it was hardly worth it. I looked up to see the smiling faces of the two I am glad to now call friends. Without them I would presumably still be sitting in my chair, listening to music and watching the landscape change. Now I have a new and wonderful connection with two amazing individuals. How long it would last was a question I had not cared to wonder because for now we were happy. The night rolled over the sky as we crossed over the Mississippi river. Their stop had been scheduled for 11pm and although I was tired, I was too invested in to leave and or head to rest. The day had been long but the company was comforting for the time being. The observation car slowly drained as the people left to sleep the night away. Once we arrived at their station it was a short farewell and the exchanging of contact information and we parted ways. The day had been tiresome and my eyes were drooping to a close so I called it a night and resided back in my seat. The train made the strange decision to leave on the air conditioning in the already cold of the night so I bundled up with my coat as a blanket and scarf for a pillow. Stretching my legs across both the reclining seats, I closed my eyes for the next day was just about guaranteed to be long and tiresome. Farewell blackest night, till morrows light in Denver Colorado.
Lauren Basset in front of her chalk drawing at the Denver chalk festival.
The train backs up into the station and we patiently wait for it to come to a complete stop. Some more than others. I take my first step on the ground of the first stop on my adventure. Following the crowds, I find myself in the crowded train station. The granite walls stretch up two stories with intricate stone callombs seemingly holding them off the ground. Pressed between each individual in the room, Isliver my way toward the doors parallel to the ones I had entered from to escape the hustle and bustle. This was not a very coordinated trip mind you. I had no place to go except the airbnb that I oranged for myself while on the train. I opened my phone and entered “Maps” with the address my temporary home as it's destination. I followed the path it took me only to be lead to the main street. Although there were heavy clouds above, it looked beautiful. The road itself had been blocked off from cars but only housed a shuttle bus for transportation up and down the nine blocks that made it up. As I walked up the street, everyone else seemed to know exactly where they were going. There were no direct tourists searching for sights to see, just regular people. Sleep had been uncomfortable and unusual from what I was used to so I had only one need at the time, coffee. Halfway down the street and across the center way was an “Ink” coffee shop so I went there. Quite empty mind you. There was only one couple sipping coffee alongside the wall, the workers and I. Not knowing what to expect, I asked the barista what was good here. He explained his favorite drink while his other co-worker chimed in. The discussion started light and eventually blossomed into topics about life and its purpose. His co-worker, Lauren Basset, had sold just about all of her possessions in order to buy a van and use it to travel the country. She, an inspiration to those with dreams they see as impossible. Now she had come back to denver to relax and save up money for her future endeavors. One day I hope to meet her again and buy one of her paintings but life is unpredictable. As I was about to leave the shop, an hour of conversation later, I had mentioned something about Wisconsin but was interrupted. A woman's voice asked from behind me, “Did you say Wisconsin?” I turned around to greet the couple and said yes. Turned out that her and her husband happened to be from the small town of Plymouth Wisconsin as well. I couldn't believe it. She was out there for a business trip and was accompanied by her husband. Of all the places in the world they could have gone to, it was the same coffeeshop as I. Hopefully this doesn't come off as repetitive but to me it seemed incredibly and amazingly impossible. We talked a bit more before I said my farewell and we parted ways. Continuing my route toward the house, I had turned the corner to find the cities tourist center. Why not? I had no plans. Upon entering, I was greeted by this lovely woman with brown hair and a smile that reflected that of mine. I explained my situation and asked for any recommendation she could possibly give. I was handed a gaggle of pamphlets for just about everything including food, tours, rock climbing, camping and such. As well as she provided me with a map to the location of a few of her favorite locations within walking distance. Soon after I had thanked her and continued my journey.
I arrived at my first airbnb with no clue how the entire process worked. The owner had emailed me the house notes and rules but it didn't calm my nervous bones. Eventually I found the correct door and walked upstairs to find a hostile like set up in a modern apartment and a sleeping stranger. After I had set my backpack on the top bunk of my bed, I sat on the couch and took a breath. I was somewhere across the country in someone else's house with no agenda and nowhere to go. “Just. Breath.” I told myself. From there I looked at one of the pamphlets the woman gave me, “Aspire Tours.” The next morning I awoke at the early hour of 5 am and set out to a new coffee house and adventure. Finding new and interesting coffee shops always drove me to new and exciting locations but this was just a pitstop today. After grabbing coffee and a very fruity yogurt parfait, I ventured back to the train station. This time it was not to catch a train though. I waited at the tall flagpole towering the front of the station to soon be greeted by a few strangers. Once the rest of the group arrived, we hopped into the van and left the city. I was allowed to sit in the passenger next to the driver. We made one other stop in the city of Boulder to pick up other passengers from a PJ’s Coffee Shop. “Now to the Rockies,” said Matt, our tour guide. We set out driving into the first mountains I have ever seen and I was draped in a glance of awe. Everything was so detailed in crisp. The landscape changed by the second into something unique and beautiful. Other passengers peered up but generally began twiddling their thumbs. Matt narrated the scenes with interesting facts and funny stories whether true or not. Our first stop was at a lakeside I don’t recall the name of but it was at the base of two mountains. According to the group, they were more of large hills. “A mountain has a point where the tree line stops and only snow shows.” Too me they all were mountains. In wisconsin we only have rolling hills of farmland with the occasional cliff due to ancient land shifts of glaciers. This was different. Every direction you looked were towers of rock and dirt that touched the sky. We parked the car and separated to explore the surroundings. I, along with three other tourists began to follow a path up the side of one of the mountains. They continued to stop and take selfies on the way so eventually I lost them. Not intentional, but I did not feel like I needed to take pictures of myself when the landscape left me at no comparison. The wind grew fierce and I had lost the path. Rather than look for it, I climbed up. There was a small peak roughly 20 meters ahead of me so I ventured on. Once I reached the top, I sat holding onto the rock below for the wind gusts seemed to be in attempt to knock me down. The view was incredible. The view seemed endless with a beautiful sight in every direction. I could see down to the lake where the van was parked alongside, the distant cliffs coated in layers of greenery and snow, and the sun hovering over the tallest mountain. My hands tingled with anxious fear and slipped off the chipping rock. I began to slide down a flat decent to the drop below. It was not far, maybe ten to fifteen feet but the drop was steep. My Nike shoes had little traction against the slanted rock but I managed to slow me down. I reached back up and grabbed the lip of the rock and my camera swung, knocking into the rock. I reached my other hand back up and began to pull my now hanging body back up to the top. Grabbing onto a small tree atop, I exhausted my energy and rolled over the edge. My heart racing and my lungs drained, I took a moment to breathe and relax. Everything within me felt exhausted and was not used to this new altitude. As I stared at the sky, I laughed. What would have happened if I had fallen. Rather than a question, it seemed like a statement because of the true severity of the situation. I remember thinking, what would I do. Any number of injuries could have came from a drop such as this. But would it have mattered? I took this trip to try and remember why I want to live. Working the same job day after day gets tedious but what else do you do. Go to school. Get a job to pay for school. Buy a house. Get a better job to pay for house. Keep paying bills and working till the day, but why? I always told myself that if I ever was depressed enough to truly not see the worth in life, that I would go take a trip to remember. As dark as it was, it was a motivator for me to press in this life of mine. But what would have happened if I had fallen. There's a chance it would have just ended. Was that a good thing, or bad. I made it back to the van shortly before the others arrived and we set out for the next destination, a local distillery in the town of Estes Park. Depending on the weather, we would have had an outdoor picnic but due to the cold the backup plan was here. Matt handed out sandwiches and water. The rest of the group ordered drinks meanwhile I sat at a small table alongside a window blocked by plants. Toward the middle of my meal one of the group members came over and struck up conversation. His name is Josh. He recently moved to Austin, Texas for work and decided to take a short weekend vacation here. Each person I met in denver so far kept conversation mostly basic and surface level, except him. We talked about a guy he might be interested in, and I about the same. We talked about how we ended out here and why here. Conversation carried on until we set out to the next location. Our van entered the Rocky Mountain National Park with clear air and a cloudy sky, by the time we reached the highest point of the mountain we could snow was coming down at a pace that left visibility to a meer fifty feet. The road was blocked off in order to stop us from going any further into the dangerous peak. We parked the van and stepped out into the cold breeze. Some chose not to leave because of how cold it felt but being from wisconsin, it was nothing new. The snow cleared up slightly enough to view the miles and miles of land that lead into the white abyss. How incredible. We made two other stops on our journey, a small cherry pie shop and the Stanley hotel for all “The Shining” lovers. Both were neat locations filled with beauty and interesting details. There was constantly elk alongside the road just grazing in the fields and tourists flocking to see them from afar. When we got back into town, Josh and I walked around to see denver’s nightlife. It was beautiful. Color filled the streets and energy was abundant. In one open window was a singer spreading her beautiful song into the streets as a man on the street danced to the wonderful beat. A man had a net with two sticks attached that he drenched in a soapy mixture and used it to fill the area with thousands of bubbles. An older couple sat in the midway of the street playing a chess game on a board made of stone. It was so full of life. We wandered the street viewing as much as it had to offer. Each alleyway was filled with art from differing artists. Nothing seemed “normal.” The colors seemed more colorful and the life was livelier. The next morning I awoke to the shaking of one of the men in the room leaving the apartment. There I lay, in a room filled with roughly six men I didn’t know in someone else's bed. Although it was my third morning here, it was still weird to me. My train plans were now solidified but what I was doing in between was not. Josh and I declared that we would try to meet at some point again before we leave but it was not clear of a time. I picked up my phone to see that it was only seven in the morning. Damn body doesn't allow me to sleep in as it would conflict my average sleeping schedule so now I am up. I was told that the city of boulder was in close proximity to denver and the mountains so without planning too much, I ordered an Uber and left. This was the first Uber I had ever taken, only forty minutes to boulder. Once I arrived, I had the driver drop me off somewhere near the college campus and I just began following the crowds of students. They lead me to the heart of the campus. Everyone had a direction and a destination but me though none of them seemed to notice my difference. Eventually I made my way out and away to a more downtown-like street. There I found a coffee shop and ordered the barista’s recommendation, a chorizo and bacon burrito and a iced coffee. Me being more of a fan of sweet drinks, was not to drawn to the coffee itself but the burrito was good. I asked the barista for directions to the mountainside and he pointed me to a place called the “Flat Irons” which happened to be giant rocks that jut out of the mountain with huge flat surfaces, thusly known as flat-irons. After finishing half my burrito, I wrapped it up and just started walking to the irons in the distance. Roughly eleven blocks later I arrived at a path leading into the woods, and thought “good enough.” The path weaved in and out along a small river that was down the hillside. The route seemed mostly empty since there were only a few people to be seen walking in or out of it. By nine am I reached the top of the first flat-iron. I sat on top for a while and shortly after a few other adventurers joined me. All of us exhausted, we sat and discussed our lives. One was a couple from Minnesota and the other was an intern for a new and upcoming tech business in Denver. When the couple left, I ended up having an extended chat with the lone guy. His name is Isaac. We helped each other get pictures on the edge of the cliff and declared us “hiking buddies.” We followed each other up to the top of the path and rested. According to him, he overpacked on supplies so we shared a meal of granola bars and energy fruit snacks. Neither of us had any other plans for the day so as we talked we decided to continue our venture to a different location at a split off earlier on the path. By now after all the sitting and talking it struck the hour of noon. Over the next three hours we had hiked down and up to a different part of the mountain known as the something arch. The name precedes me at the moment but it was lovely. I found a shallow dip in the rock at the foot of the arch and sat in my cove. The view was breathtaking. In the distance stood the now small city of boulder and the spec that was Denver. The shadow of the mountain now cascaded over the land leading west. We met a couple from Mississippi and we had a long conversation about her being a yoga instructor. Thusly she proceeded to do yoga at the edge of the cliff. Honestly to me it looked absolutely terrifying. I have never been a fan of heights whatsoever. It is a fear of which i consistently attempt to encounter. I asked how she could be so fearless on the cusp of possible death and shes told me “life will always be scary, all you can do it's live fearlessly knowing you'll have a good time.” It began getting colder in the shadow of the mountain so we're started our way back down. Climbing down was definitely a lot easier than heading up. Once we made it to the start, the sun began to set and there sky filled with the most elegant blues and pinks that contrasted into a painting like scene in every direction. The stars could be seen within three deepest blues above. Not many clouds were to be seen but the ones there reflected a color that seemed indescribable. I sat in the field at the base of a tall pine tree and watched as darkes befell the city. We came upon the entrance shelter of the park where i called for a lyft to take me down to Pearl street. Isaac and I said our goodbyes and that was the last I saw of him. We meet so many different people during our lives that can impact us greatly in unexplainable ways and leave without a physical trace. All we have are our memories of them and without that it's as if they never existed. Thoughts such as that can drive a person insane if they think about it too much, but luckily they can also lead to deep realizations as well. If others can mean such an impact on the life of someone they barely know, look what that can be said about yourself. You can impact person you come in contact with, regardless if positive or negative. Your existence has affected so many people unannounced to you. You matter to someone whether you know it or not. Isn't it beautiful? It's poetry that's constantly flowing in and out of life. By the time I made it back to Denver, night had already set in. Josh and I grabbed dinner and I made my way back to bed. In the morning, i repacked up my stuff into my backpack and went back to the train station for the final time. When the train arrived I found my seat and waved goodbye to the beautiful city of Denver. May the next city bring me as much joy as this.
Salt Lake City
I arrived at the city a few minutes before midnight struck and waited outside the station on a small bench. I checked my phone for any messages but saw nothing. It was a cold night but not too terrible. Soon enough I watched an older teal jeep cherokee roll into the parking grounds and I walked over. I peered though the glass to ensure that I found the right vehicle and tapped my pointer finger on the window. The driver glanced over and gestured my company with a smile. “It’s great to finally meet you,” he said in an accent I hadn’t pictured when we talked over the internet. Hugh was an acquaintance I had made a few years back due to our common interests in photography and style. Our friendship only blossomed from there. He always seemed quite interesting and never boring. He happened to have a twin sister and loved traveling as much as he could. He had a beautiful series of tattoos that artistically spotted over his pale skin. This was our first meeting in person so we both had our minds open. Last minute I had told him that I was going to be swinging though his city and he offered shelter while I was there. We drove to his house with light conversation and just about crashed when we got there. In the morning he woke up to get ready for work and I, being a lighter sleeper, woke up with him. We talked as he got ready and he asked what my plan was, once again I didn't have one. After some self debating, he decided to take off of work for the day to show me around. I told him it wasn’t necessary but he told me, “You are not here often, might as well use the time we have.” After that we finished getting ready and he took me down to one of his favorite coffee shop, “Three Pines Coffee.” It was a quaint shop smuggled in between a bank and a bakery. The sunline illuminated the room with warm tones and happy air. The coffee was nothing too special but the environment was calming. We didn't stay long, just to drink and talk. We drove out of the city and stopped at a 7-Eleven that overlooked the city. Strange enough it was the first time I had stopped at this chain so I thought I’d give it a try. We hadn't gotten anything to eat at the coffee shop so I picked up two rollers, Airhead bites and a rootbeer. By the time I finished paying, Hugh had paid for the gas and we got back into Felix, his car. He was incharge of the adventure this day so he lead us into the mountains. We stopped at a lake midway up one of the mountains and followed the path around the shimmering water. The water was beautiful and almost crystal clear. In each direction there were trees pointing to mountaintops with the sun gleaming off it all. The air was cold up here but the sunlight made it warm enough for enjoyability. On a dock leading to the middle of the lake I stood breaking the Ice on the edge because, I mean why not. Luckily Hugh found it comical rather than filled with insanity. After my toes froze we hobbled our way back to the jeep and made our way to the next destination he had in mind. Weaving throughout the valley between mountains along the trickling water, we venues up Little Cottonwood Valley. A slight glimpse of claustrophobia can be felt as the enormous walls of the mountainside seem to cradle you in their arms. I had him pull over on the side of the road near a clearing in the trees. Step by step we walked across the stream like stepping stones. The water, clear as glass, showed way for fallen leaves to find cesspools along their paths. The sun kept me warm, and the rocks steadily remained cold. Sitting down I felt a rush of something I hadn’t felt in a while, bliss. Life is stressful, it doesn’t matter how many times you go around the sun. As a pre-teenager, you are expected to grow up to fit your situation, much like a gas fills the container it is put into. Some have little space to fill, life is roughly easy in the way they prosper. Others have to manage to become something they are not in order to fit in. This applies to general responsibilities, money, family repercussions, and more. Even if the weight is not fully rest upon their shoulders, the stress of it will once they know it exist. Teenagers have the challenge to figure out how to keep friends throughout the drama, hold onto family once truths and stories of “freedom” knock on their minds, and schooling that now fills them with useless confusion and a lack of time. Into Adulthood we are set free to figure out how to get a car, get housing, get loans, get a better job, and pay everything back. Many do all they have to do and are too exhausted to do more. Childhood dreams are left behind in the pursuit of better possessions, none of which bring true happiness. After staying in that state of mind for long enough, it drives a person mad and leads to a midlife crisis. We live constantly with stress and worry for we are expected of too much from the start. At this moment I finally let the past and the future go in order to live in the moment. The feeling resembled that of a personal nirvana. After lunch at my first Chick Fil A we drove a tourist town called “Park City.” It was mostly filled with small shops, all of local artist decent. The town hadn't had much to offer so we didn’t stay too long. Out on the windy roads, we made our way to the other side of the city where an abandoned road lead us to a big rock. The highway was put just along and above the side of this broken asphalt path, leaving it no longer convenient or visible. The rock itself had to be at least 250 feet around and twenty feet tall with a plattowed top. Graffiti covered just about every inch of the crippling sides. We climbed to the top and stood looking at the great salt lake that surrounded all but one side of this glorious monument. Apparently back in the 1950’s this was a very popular tourist spot with a beautiful shore. Now it has dilapidated and the water level lowered enough that most areas seemed drained. The salt from the water gave off a distinctive smell that seemed, rustic. To our left the bustling highway, packed with cars, at the foot of the mountain seemed unsilenceable. The sun began to set behind the mountains that lined the western coast, thusly illuminating the landscape with shades of orange that can only be described with their sight. The rock formations seemed almost iridescent in the newly brought on light. With the rising shadow casting it's dark rays across the nightly forming hour, a chill came over me. Hugh and I sat and talked for a while and watched the blue skies fade into a lavender fog. We climbed back down and made a short lap around the boulder before heading out on the wavy road. Back in town we parked the car and walked to a pizza place he was accustomed to, “Pie Hole Pizza.” Honestly good pizza. The table we sat at had top made from computer chips and other electrical parts encased in a polyurethane material. The walls were completely covered in graffiti, enough that made it a style rather than disruptive. Even the two arcade machines on the side of the room had their own creations on them. I had two slices and a Dr. Pepper. It had been a long day for the two of us so we headed back for rest. In the morning, Hugh left for work and I remained in the house to rest a little extra. Eventually I set out on foot to find a coffee shop, one different that I had been to before. Once I had found one and sat down at a small window side table, I took out my camera in order to seem preoccupied but it was more or less an excuse to people watch. People are interesting. For some reason, our lives lead for all of us to end up in the same room together though we are presumably complete strangers with each other. A woman was sitting on the couch, tapping her pen against the side of her porcelain mug while studying the inside of what seemed to be a fashion magazine. Was she a college student? Studying fashion for hopefully a positive and high paying future career in the field? And why? Who made the decision for her to study they specific field? Was it an ushered push by parents close minded discontent on the creativity within clothing design causing her to be further pushed into the profession under the causality of rebellion? Who knows. It may seem far fetched but thats what makes life so interesting, anything could be the correct answer but there is only one path that took her here. We determine the paths we follow, whether consciously or subconsciously. Some blame others for the reason they fall into pitfalls and feel the weakness keeping them down but in actuality it is how you take the information. You are incharge of how you process information and how much you allow it to affect you. The blame is on you. As discouraging as that can seem, that can be your reason for change. You are incharge of your life. The path is yours. The future is just a series of consequences that formulate to new experiences in your life. I found my way wondering though downtown, studying the difference in architecture, style, and life that occurs in places so far from my home. I entered a few shops but most places around here seemed to be corporate and professional conference centers. Down one street I found the pizza place from the night before. I admired the new look as seen with the sunlight shining upon it. Next door I saw a sign that said “Walk-ins welcome.” Neon lettering showed that it was a tattoo parlor, and before I knew it I was inside. The receptionist greeted me and asked if I knew what I wanted. I answered not yet and she handed me books by the artists. I sat for a while and studied the previous work on other individual’s skin with an awe of admiration for their talents. Eventually it was always my dream to get a sleeve of tattoos done on my left arm, but that seemed like a dream set far away. A guy came out from the back though what looked like saloon swinging doors and greeted me with a smile. It might sound crazy but it felt as if I had known him. He resembled a character out of a dream similar to this exact situation. Sort of like a dejavu moment but more towards a memory. It was uncanny. The beard, eyes, facial structure and even the clothes he wore. I felt like I was in the right place. No matter how crazy that seemed. We talked about how I ended up here and why I came into his shop before discussing designs. Most people believe that tattoos need to have a meaning otherwise only to show their pointless stature upon ones body. I always see them as art. Some art has deeper meaning, while others are just a feast for the eyes. Mine was decided to be a fern, or at least the resemblance of one. A plant known for its resilience to the outside threats as well as its ability to heal, even after substantial injury. He and I sketched out designs that would not only look beautiful but also last throughout life and through the bleeding it does with age. Soon enough I was laying on a table staring at the flags and designs pinned to the tiling on the ceiling. He drove the tattooing needle into my chest and began the piece. It did not feel as imagined, mostly as if light singeing to the skin from the flicker of a lighters flame. The only point that hurt more than the next was when he reached close to my collarbone and to the further regions toward my under arm. Before long I was back on the street with a new tattoo above my heart and a sense of pride for having had it done. The rest of the afternoon was just filled with walking though the city Mall, to the capital building and other various well known locations.
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