Hidden meanings

At the airport, I asked the young man eating next to me the meaning of a Chinese tattoo creeping from under his shirt collar.

‘It was supposed to mean something crazy at the time and place, and I am unhappy with the fact that no matter how much I try, it always sticks out from above the collar,’ he said casually, almost in a tone of apology.

‘And yet, since you cannot hide it, you keep getting questions from strangers, and soon you get to know all sorts of new people. Good for you, then.’

A flash of a reserved smile, as if he had never considered that angle before.

‘Yes, ‘ he admitted, gladly, ‘that would be true.’

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