Tattoo Girl, part 4

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Tattoo Cat by Something Ferdinand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This post is standalone, but if you’d like to read earlier installments, please see links at the end of this post.

There was the darkened window at night, always the darkened window.  It was an eye that harbored all manner of beings – creatures of the night, madmen on the prowl, imaginary beings that belonged to Jaime’s nightmares.  Between the window and the wall of her bedroom she felt safety in the purring of Mr. Mittens on her bed as she fell asleep at night.

What price imagination?  When she was young Jaime had read all the classic childhood stories, starting with Perrault’s fairy tale book, and on through the womens’ tales of the 1800s, Alcotts’s Little Women and Brontë’s Jane Eyre.  Those lush narratives enfolded her like a pool of dark rich chocolate after Christmas dinner.  But her favorites, like tiny confections, were the little books of magical adventure.  Edward Eager’s Half Magic.  C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.  The Wizard of Oz.

When did a child’s love of imaginary magic – there was magic in the word imagination if you looked closely and didn’t spell well – when did a love of imaginary magic become a paralyzing fear of the dark?  Jaime thought about the layers of darkness that had seeped into her marriage and into her soul.  The jealous accusations, the frenzied interrogations, the claustrophobia-inducing closeness of the dreary apartment they’d lived in.  It must have been the bleak empty-eyed windows at street level in that apartment, in that heart-sick place off Fremont – that’s where it started.  Any manner of creature might look in on them at any time.  Even drawing the cheap muslin curtains across the slash of glass at sidewalk level gave no solace.  She could still feel imagined eyes flicking at her, stabbing through the curtains and into the small room.  The small room flickered with TV light; her husband had loved ESPN.  Cable cost almost more than food, she sometimes thought, but she did not say it.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

And now Mr. Mittens was Jaime’s proof against terrible faces, the gruesome expressions of imagined monsters.

Mr. Mittens was no monster.  He was the anti-monster, Jaime thought.  Patting his soft white feet, especially, calmed Jaime.  Feet that pattered along the hardwood floor without a sound.  Feet that leaped his body up to the window seat in the front room where he watched for Jaime to come home from work every afternoon.  The fur on a cat’s feet is short, muscly, and to the point.

Almost the first thing she’d done when she moved into this apartment was to put up colorful curtains across the bedroom window.  Bright paisley panels that she found at Pier One imports on sale.  She put them up in the daytime, when it felt safe to stand in front of the window.

She was sure they kept out the eyes – the curtains and Mr. Mittens.


Do you ever get spooked by the darkness of a window at night?  I’m especially good at imagining all sorts of strange faces at a window, at night, especially a window on the ground floor.  Brrr!


Tattoo – Part 1 here.

Tattoo – Part 2 here.

Tattoo – Part 3 here.

24 thoughts on “Tattoo Girl, part 4

  1. Lovely written narrative, Theresa. I like the name Mr Mittens and it is a cute name for a cat. He sounds like the kind of cat who would mind his own business and creep around late at night when the house has gone to sleep. I believe you when you say he is no monster…he probably is just a restless guy 🙂

    I am nocturnal so the darkness does not bother me. When I don’t have too much to do, I like to turn off all the lights and watch YouTube in the dark on my laptop 😀 What I don’t like is some random people ringing my doorbell and trying to get in after the sun goes down. I live in an apartment block and sometimes people don’t know how to ring the correct flat from the doorbell. So annoying and scary at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mabel, thank you so much for telling me you liked this mini-story. It means a lot (as you know from your own blogging and writing)! I think it’s interesting that you welcome the dark. That’s so interesting to know and I admire it! But, yes, the random doorbell ring would be really scary. Argh!


      1. Reading fiction always captivates me. These days non-fiction comes more easily to me, and I admire those who write fiction. So keep writing fiction 🙂 The times I welcome the dark are when I need to clean the house…helps me to see where the dust is 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Reading fiction captivates you? Gosh, that is so wonderful. It’s interesting to hear you say nonfiction comes more easily to you at the moment, as I struggle when I write non-fiction (e.g., on the blog) – redoing, editing – re-editing, etc. – and so I greatly admire your writing! I really look forward to reading your work. And, I love this line: “…[the dark] helps me to see where the dust is” – so cool! 🙂


      3. Your fiction always seems effortless, and I can certainly take a leaf out of your book and learn from that 🙂 Haha, that is me exactly when writing non-fiction – lots of revision and it takes me forever to come be satisfied with my work. You keep writing fiction and I am sure you will publish a fiction book some day 🙂


      4. Effortless! I am so heartened by your observation. I do want it to seem that way, and it’s gratifying to hear that it does! And, thank you for the supportive thoughts – I really appreciate it, and it makes a difference having a thoughtful person say “go for it”!


      5. Of course we all know writing has it’s challenges…but you do make it so easy – like you recently put together your Cinderella book project. So heartening to see you do it and engage others around you with your passion 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I cannot look out of a window at night unless there is an outdoor light on. I can freak myself out not being able to see if there is anyone outside looking in!! I don’t like being scared, but I don’t hate it either. I am absolutely fascinated by the paranormal. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh! Tami, I know what you mean. This is such a personal and insightful observation. I get these little flashes of strange faces that seem about to pop up into the window, like little ghost-images of something strange or paranormal. It’s worse for me on a ground floor, or especially where there is a porch outside . . . my husband is completely fine with the darkness, but I am not! It must be my imagination. Works overtime. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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