by Caitlin Gall
The antiseptic perfume hits your nostrils as soon as the glass doors part, like a rolling wave of purity that breaks as soon as it hits you. They say that smell is one of the strongest memory triggers; you believe that now, as harrowing images force their way inside your thoughts, haunting you.
The buzz of the machine is next to assault your senses; it sounds something akin to a dentist drill, but lacks the signature cold shiver down your spine, that sets your teeth on edge.
You step out from under the blanket of humidity that has covered the world with huge, clammy hands; the air-conditioned atmosphere welcomes your sweat-slick skin with enveloping arms.
The bell attached to the door rings dutifully, notifying those who care that you have arrived. Nobody looks your way, and for that you are thankful; the few tears trailing glistening paths down your cheeks will go unnoticed for now. Anyone who does care to look may mistake the errant droplets as symptoms of fear or nerves, but they would be mistaken.
You take a seat, your hands fiddling with the crumpled photo you have clasped so tightly, for so long. It is the only thing you have left to hold on to, and you won’t let go.
The tattoo artist calls your name, and you move towards the chair numbly. You may never hold your baby in your arms, but you will have her with you forever.
Caitlin lives in Geelong, and is currently studying Bachelor of Arts at Deakin University. Caitlin likes to collect pets in her spare time.