About 20 years ago I worked with a young woman who had a tattoo across her wrist. Turned out is said “I’ll always love” and was in memory of her mother who had passed away a few years earlier.
Since then I have always thought that maybe somebody I would be a tattoo commemorating the big love of my life – YA. I wanted flowers with YA’s name, preferably in her own handwriting. I’ve mentioned this repeatedly over the years and I’m sure that YA was sick of hearing about it. My questions the last year about who is reputable got next to nothing, although she did once mention Grand Avenue Tattoo over in St. Paul. I wasn’t sure if YA was embarrassed that her old mother was even considering a tattoo or if she was convinced I would never act on this and she didn’t want to waste her time.
A few months ago I decided I would make this tattoo my retirement gift to myself. I made my plan for while she was out of town; if she DID think I was pushing ahead, there might be lots and lots of questions and “in my face” stuff. When I called the shop earlier in the week they said my idea was perfect for a “walk-in” appointment and that sometimes folks start lining up an hour before the shop opens. I got there a bit after 11 with a book, an umbrella and my printed design, which included a couple of cards that YA has given me over the years that have her signature – I was the first one there and there was a bench! By the time the shop opened, there were at least 12 folks in line behind me – including another baboon!!!
It didn’t hurt as much as I was expecting – although having your skin pierced is definitely noticeable, it was in fairly short bursts (4-5 second each) and about half way through, the area was getting a little numb and it didn’t hurt much at all. (In all fairness, I do have to say that for the next couple of hours, it stung quite a bit.) And it didn’t take as long as I was expecting either – even with the different colors, it only took about 45 minutes.
My artist was a young man named Tony. He’s from the west coast and he has done art his whole life, including a lot of painting on his own; he started doing tattoo work a couple of years ago. He has 7 siblings who are scattered, including one living in Thailand these days and he just did a tattoo for his oldest brother two weeks ago. He was very pleasant and answered all my questions (and I had a lot). He did a great job… it looks just like my design. I knew going in that I didn’t want the design on the inside of my wrist and I let Tony guide me as to good placement – a little up on my air from the bend in my wrist. I love it.
What was the last gift that you gave to yourself?