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  • “In another life I’d get a tattoo.” I say to my roommate as she scrolls through an anonymous Pinterest board dedicated to the complex body art. We’re sitting on the sunken loveseat in our apartment, each cross-legged in our usual attempt to cram a whole week’s worth of homework into the final hours of gray Sunday night. Her laptop is open to displays of watercolor spirals and elaborate lettering.

    “Why not do it now?” she asks as she switches back to her chemistry notes and begins studying what appears to be some molecular connect the dots. I turn back to my own laptop, trying to find the place in the research article that I had left off.

    “Oh I don’t know… money maybe?” I say. I increase the zoom on the article display. A graph depicting the relationship between vocabulary and social-economic-status takes up half the screen; I adjust the window to focus back on the text.

    “You’ve got your whole life,” she replies. “We’ll have a paying job in a few years, get it then.” I think about this for a moment.

    “Probably not” I say, “It’s just not me.” I’m a 4.0 student who’s worked her ass off to graduate a year early, a devout Catholic and the type of girl who always wishes for world peace when the clock turns 11:11. Tattoos are for the risk takers and the world-shakers. My attempt at shaking the world would involve complimenting a stranger on her cute shoes or an award for the most hugs given. I’m not tattoo material.

    I scroll back to the top of the article, trying to remember the meaning of the Latin suffix –ectomy. I’ve re-read the same paragraph 4 times and I still don’t know what a stapedectomy has to do with vocabulary level. I lean back on the cushions and sink a little deeper into the couch. Other life Jourdan wouldn’t need to spend fifteen minutes on a meager five sentences.

    The scene plays out in my head, the same way it does whenever I think about my “other life” tattoo. Other life Jourdan has a toned back and shoulders, lined abs, and a strict gym schedule. She keeps her hair short, dying it pitch black with dark blue lowlights. Other life Jourdan exudes confidence, wears heels with every outfit, and always dresses in deep reds and black leather. Upon her toned back and shoulders, is an inky spiral of feathers. Two gigantic wings are etched into her shoulder blades, elegantly resting on her skin as if she could at any moment take off. Other life Jourdan would have wings to shake the earth with. Other life Jourdan would never need to read a research article. Other life Jourdan wouldn’t care about 11:11.

    I rustle through the flashcards I had scribbled the week before, trying to find the one labeled –ectomy. Found it; –ectomy “denotes removal.”

    I see a flash of color and look back over at my roommate’s laptop. She’s abandoned her molecules and is watching a Facebook video of a cheesy marriage proposal. Other life Jourdan would laugh at the thought of something so ridiculous. I imagine her motorcycle spitting sand at the simpering sight.

    We watch as the bride-to-be is made speechless and teary-eyed on a golden beach surrounded by 50 of her closest friends.

    My roommate gives a happy sigh.

    Real life Jourdan sighs in agreement.
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