The Bengal Beat

The painful reality of permanence

Aneta Huckova, General Columnist

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I sighed as I looked at my schedule for the week. I was halfway through my homework in the subject I hate the most: chemistry. I’m certain only people with a passion for suffering like chemistry.

I looked through my homework and then once again at my schedule. I hated my schedule: AP chemistry, AP physics, microbiology. “You have the potential to be a scientist, I can see it in your scores,” my counselor told me the year before.

I don’t think so.

My phone vibrated, making me jump. I looked at the screen and raised my eyebrows when I saw Nicole’s name. I thought she was at a family gathering.

Any reason to stop doing chemistry is a good one.

“Hey Nicole, what’s up?”

“You will not believe what she said to me. She is such a hypocrite!”

I knew immediately what she was talking about. Nicole got a tattoo about week ago, a green-and-blue-tinted fish that took up most of her ribcage. The tattoo was meant to honor her grandfather, who had died a couple of months before. Nicole was closer to him than to her own father.

This news circulated through her family like wildfire. They all wanted to see it, and more than that, they all wanted to tell her how much they hated it.

I got up from my desk, covered with papers and books, and threw myself on the bed, curling up under the fluffy blanket I got for Christmas.

“So?” I asked. Nicole didn’t need any more prompting to start her monologue.

“Dear amazing Elizabeth decided to give me a lecture about making bad choices in life. Who does she think she is? She has China in her house that no one can use … ever. How is my tattoo a poor investment?”

If I could have seen her face, I am certain it would have been completely red. She always heats up when she’s angry.

“Where are you now? I could come to your house if you want,” I said, sounding not as dedicated to the idea as I would have liked. The warmness of the covers was making me feel relaxed. I could feel the heat rising from my feet into the rest of my body.

“No, we are still at my aunt’s house. I’m hiding in the bathroom.”

She chuckled into the phone.

“OK, keep me updated on how you are doing,” I told her. “Hopefully, they will not eat you alive.”

“Yeah, don’t count on that,” Nicole said, hanging up.

I placed my phone on my night table, catching the sight of the work I had left undone. I frowned and turned my back on it.

How someone can say we are too young to decide what we want to put on our body is a mystery to me.

Will we regret it?

Maybe at some point in our life.

Maybe never.

Adults don’t seem as concerned about permanence when it comes to our education. We’re forced to choose what we want to do for the rest of our lives when we are teens.

Will we regret it?

Maybe at some point in our life.

Maybe never.

It’s a lot easier to remove ink from your skin than to extract yourself from a career you’ve been working towards since you were 14. I would much rather be left with art on my body that didn’t turn out the way I wanted than be forced into a career that makes me miserable.

As my phone continued to vibrate with messages, and the science homework that an adult decided was right for me waited on my desk, I drifted off to sleep.

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The painful reality of permanence