by K. Lawson Gilbert
The old woman blessed herself when she saw the young man’s Sacred Heart of Jesus tattoo. Blood flowed from the nearly life-sized heart and ran in inky rivulets from his muscular bicep to his elbow.
Who would have a tattoo like that? She mused, as she searched her coat pockets for a tissue, shifting from one foot to the other on the grooved step of the escalator. Isn’t that sacrilegious or something? She blew her bulbous nose.
Her eyes found the tattoo again. “A flaming heart - shining with divine light, a bleeding lance-wound, surrounded by a crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross,” she whispered aloud, quietly and slowly, as she studied the image closely.
“OH! OH! Ohhhh! She cried, stumbling headfirst into the young man, as he stepped off the escalator. The old woman had been close on his heels, inspecting the image.
“Are you okay?” He asked, genuinely concerned.
“I might have been killed!” She blurted out, adjusting her babushka.
As he helped her up from the floor, her left hand touched the Sacred Heart of Jesus tattoo.
“Let’s sit here,” he said, as he led her to a nearby bench and sat down with her.
The woman looked in the palm of her left hand. It was wet with dark, red blood. She looked quizzically into the face of the young man.
“You have been baptized in the blood of Jesus, Anaya. “Go to the Father now,” he smiled and whispered, as she closed her eyes.