The Tatto Shop

In Southern Vietnam, there were four seasons, hot, very hot, extremely hot, and hot enough that you could die. Didn’t you believe the rumor? Try to visit the country in the summer, and you would stop complaining about having winter.

It was noon. The restaurants were getting filled by people who were taking a break from works. Students were done with their morning classes, try to rest, and be ready for their evening classes. Under the shadow of a big tamarind tree, there were two motorbike drivers complained about their business dying out because people all used Grab and Uber. Also, everyone had their own vehicles. Traffic started picking up; car horns were getting louder and louder. The sun gave life under it.

“Hello, what is the process of getting a tattoo?” — A lady looked like she was in her sixty, with a Central Vietnam accent asked the guy in front of the tattoo shop.

Cleared his throat, with a deep voice, he answered: “pretty simple; we check whether you are 18, which you are, obviously. You pick a tattoo, or we can design one for you with some extra cost. You decide where you want it on your body”. He stopped for a second, with his eyes scan the lady from head to toe. He continued “then you pay. You are lucky since it is not busy right now, we can get things done pretty fast, wanna come in?”.

“How about,… mm, I want to get it for someone else?” — She was nervous but took a deep breath to remain calm.

“Lady, people don’t get a tattoo for someone else, unless you mean you want to pay for someone’s tattoo?” — he thought this woman had lost her mind. “mmm, I mean I want to get a tattoo for someone else, someone in my family” — she sounded like talking to herself.

“What a day, it’s too hot out here” — He left the lady, walked back in the shop where the air conditioning was running hard.

The lady followed him. She took a piece of paper out of her handbag. Took a deep break, she was trying to put herself together before saying something. Her voice shaking, she said, “my son, oh, can I get a tattoo for him?”. All the eyes in the tattoo shop were on her. Everyone tried so hard to make themselves don’t look so awkward and nosy. Their ears were listening carefully.

“Where is your son?” — the guy said, a little bit confused but she could tell he was a nice guy.

The lady looked back at the front door, nodding her head. She was doing American Sign Language with someone else. Determinately, she said: “can you get this tattoo for him, please?”. She showed the tattoo artist the piece of paper. On the paper was written someone full name and a long address which was not a main street in the city. “My son, due to an accident when he was a kid, he does not remember things sometimes, including his name and where he is from. I am too old to keep an eye on him all the time. However, I don’t want to lose him. With the tattoo, if he gets lost. People can know who he is and send him back to me.

Outside, suddenly the rain came in. People tried to move inside to avoid getting wet. The traffic was getting worse. It rained a lot during the summer in Southern Vietnam.

The artist said: “come on in.”

Article By Xing Voong

Xing is a writer and an aspiring software developer. He writes about education, culture, and technology.

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