I seriously have a tattoo. I got it in my ‘former life’ when I was a mere kitten of a girl. At 18 years of age I was rebelling – well actually, not really. I just never thought about what my mother might say as I blundered on and said ‘yes’ to the tattoo artist.
But, now, at 60-something years of age, when I proudly show off my tattoo to my friends, I pretend to slough it off as a mark of rebellion – isn’t that what everyone expects me to say?
When I tell people that I have a tattoo, I notice them scanning my limbs in search of the dreaded indelible inked art creation. Then they worry. Are there lovebirds eternally prancing on her back or forever butterflies dancing on her shoulder? Or worse … tattooed dragons winding all down her upper legs to the bottom of her aging calves? Or worse, and we won’t go there.
I like to keep people wondering.
His name was John. He was apprenticing as a plumber and he was a bad boy. And I thought I was in love. Well he had tattoos so I surmised he was a bad boy. A logical conclusion in my day.
So that night, so very long ago, when we were watching a movie at his place, I got looking at his heart shaped ‘Mom’ tattoo and asked for details.
Did it hurt? How long did it take? Who did it? How much did it cost?
No, it didn’t hurt. It took about 2 hours – about the length of a movie. It didn’t cost anything. He did it himself.
I was in.
“Can you give me a tattoo?”
At first he was hesitant. I begged and pleaded. Finally he gave in and went to get his kit and caboodle from the bathroom.
For the life of me, all I remember is the needle. And the ink. There was more in his special ‘box’ – I’m hoping it was the disinfectant and cleansing cloths, but I was focused on the needle.
Because it was spur of the moment, I hadn’t given it a lot of thought as to the artistic creation I wanted etched into my body for the rest of my life.
“John. I’ll write John,” he said, knowing how much I was ‘in love’ with him.
I stupidly agreed and bared my forearm.
“Inhale, this first one might hurt.”
I’d totally forgotten about my disdain for sharp things; how it used to take three nurses and a sumo wrestler to hold me down to get my vaccinations or anything else that would penetrate my skin when I was little.
John skillfully did what he had to do with the ink and the needle and poked my arm with the first jab.
I screamed bloody murder. My dramatic performance, I am sure far exceeded any little squeal dear John anticipated with his once willing customer who had just begged for a tattoo minutes before.
That was it. One poke. One jab. One very tiny tattoo – forever a reminder of almost doing something I likely would have regretted for the rest of my life.
You see, it’s like this. Turns out I wasn’t in love with John after all. Bad boys only intrigued me for a while, it seemed. I married a ‘Gilles’ which is not quite a ‘John.’ Thank goodness I came to my senses and realized the error of my ways before it was too late.
Sometimes I think of my ‘tattoo experience’ and wonder if I had gone through with it, how would it have made a difference in my life. One day a thought came to me, if I had gone through with John tattooing my arm, instead of me having to look for someone called John to marry, I could have added a little something to sort of change things a tad – something like adding a few numbers: John 3:16—maybe?