A kid comes in, well not really a kid but not an adult for sure. He was 22 if I remember. He hands me a letter, sealed in an envelope and everything. He never said a word, just standing there a little nervous.
I'm a female artist with the biggest shop in my area, I'm fairly well known and at first I thought, “Oh here we go, some shitty love letter.” I know that sounds cringey but I have honestly had men try to propose a date to me during a session, one guy pulled his member out and asked me if I was impressed, not because I'm some irresistible vixen but because I'm a heavily tattooed woman and some mean like that.
I give him a raised brow and open the letter, it was just a small circle with a crude dotted line and X drawn inside it, kind of like a tiny treasure map.
“Is this what you want today?”
“Alright, well let me go sketch something up and we’ll talk prices.”
“Sure, but can you please make it as accurate to that as possible?”
“Yea, I can. It still has to be drawn up so I can put on the stencil.”
“Alright, thank you.”
Blah blah blah, stencil and prices out of the way, now I'm sitting here tattooing it on his leg.
“So is this something you drew?”
“My dad drew it.”
“Okay.” That was that. That's all he said. About 15 minutes later, I notice his leg is quivering.
“Hey are you okay? Your legs sha-” I look up and this kid has big fat tears rolling down his cheeks. His whole body is vibrating as he sniffles and tries to sob, I mean sob, silently.
“Are you okay? Do we need to stop? Do you need some water?”
“No, no its okay. I'm sorry, I'll try and hold still.”
My mommy instincts kick in, this kid is in pain.
“Hey, what's wrong? Are you okay?” I take off my glove and reach for his hand. Usually I would find this inappropriate at the work place, I would either call off the session and ask him to come back another day or try and carry on without prying but he looked so... Gone? Like his mind was wondering and wherever it was going was killing him emotionally.
“Every year for my birthday my dad would draw me a treasure map to a special gift he got me. That was the best day of every year for me, getting that map and going out looking for my gift. It was always in a new place, the map was always exciting, he would take hours in his study drawing me these little maps so I'd have a great adventure on my birthday.
Last year he got in an accident and sustained severe trauma, he made it by the grace of god but the doctors said the damage to his body was horrific at best and he'd have a lot of complications and revision surgeries. He couldn't talk and could only barely write to tell us what he needed.
This is the last map he drew for me on my birthday before he passed away a few days later. I don't know what its supposed to lead to, I never got a chance to ask him. One day I think I'll find out what that map leads to.”
This kid got the last map his dad ever drew for him permanently on his body.
When I say I cried, I mean I CRIED. I went home and bawled to my husband. I don't know what that map was supposed to lead to but I know that kid will figure it out one day. I don't know his dads name, but whoever he is, rest in peace. You were so loved and so missed. I can see, just from talking to your son, you were the best dad in the world. You really were.