So, here is a little story I wrote about the last time I was tattooed. It was originally in Cassiopeia magazine, and I have posted it here before - but I am still very fond and quite proud of it. It all still applies.
Yes, again I am amid turmoil. I wonder how many more times in my life I will be tattooed.
Footsteps in the Snow
I suppose we have tattoos because we want to be more like snowflakes – unique, special, unlike any other. We can kid ourselves.
My tattooist, Francisco, has the skin of someone who did not see snow until last winter. Nearly every inch of it is tattooed. He is from Brazil and saw grey London snow for the first time in December – a sight that delighted him beyond my comprehension. Not unrelatedly, he has a tiny sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of his nose that elevates his face from really nice looking to beautiful.
It is not coincidental that Francisco is tattooing me today amid turmoil – to mark and erase all at once. Footsteps in the snow. Firmly planted, for me, myself, where only I can see them. He knows this instinctively and he looks after me; our conversation on the tattooist’s table is worth a year of therapy. I am so happy that he will always have been involved in my body, a part of this permanent reminder.
What a strange job – such responsibility and permanence. I wonder if he feels the weight of it when he goes home at night. I want to ask him, but we have had to stop our incessant talking because it is making me move around too much and he cannot work. It is hard for me to stay still.
With no other distraction from the pain, I recite mantras in my head, force myself into a rhythm.
DaddyyoubastardI’mthrough. DaddyyoubastardI’mthrough. (Like a train, that one.)
Above Francisco’s whirring gun: the sound of footsteps, crunching in the snow, where nobody will ever see them.