it was cool in the bay area that night, but not nearly as cold as my recent trip back to chicago for christmas. the trip when brady had showed me the tattoo he’d went ahead and procured along with an attitude as to whether or not i was serious when i committed to getting one with him.
that attitude being that i was a lost cause. brady can be pretty impatient sometimes.
hence his solo trip to the chair.
back in the bay, i was long past my decision phase…which had admittedly taken a very long time. inspired by brady’s tat i’d been doodling in econ class and during the downtime i had between weights and soccer practice, honing in on an image that i knew i could live with for the rest of my life.
something i was going to see every time i took my shirt off. something i’d be explaining to people for years to come.
i had it. and i needed a needle.
deuce and i rode up route 280 along the coast to san francisco, a city where tattoo artists are not only readily available, but chocked with talent. it was dusk, and i wasn’t sure how i’d pick a place to have it done, so deuce patiently hung around with me as we walked up and down columbus, nervously indecisive.
how do i pick a place, i thought. it’s gotta be perfect. this is forever. like a bride and her wedding dress, i was determined to find the perfect place.
after a few window shopping-ish walkthroughs, an artist in one shop came up to me and asked me what i was looking for. i showed her my drawings, and i explained to her their significance. she told me she loved what i’d done, and asked if she could prep a sample for me. i asked her how long she’d been drawing, and she told me she’d given janis joplin a tattoo.
it was a small, quiet shop with only one other patron, getting her entire back done in three or four sittings, this being her second.
i felt comfortable, and the drawing this woman brought back to me was just what i was looking for. with a lighteness in my gut like the first time you ride a rollercoaster, i paid her to ink my chest.
i’ve always been a bit of a contradiction…a mix of subversiveness and mainstream…hopefully not quite what i look like.
what i am, without any shred of doubt, is a happy product of my family. extremely fortunate to have been born to the parents who raised me the way they did, into the enormous and close family we have all over the world.
my tattoo would reflect my wonderful family.
i’ve treasured it ever since.
it’s a half sun kind of thing with the four flames discreetly shaped as the first initials of each one of my immediate family members. the sun, being half-shaped, is in the shape of a stemless “D”, thus surrounding me with family.
i know that when i have my own family (i.e. wife and kids), i’ll get a matching tattoo on my back over my left shoulder blade, directly behind the tat i already have. they will draw a line through my heart.