ladies and gentlemen, honu are in the house.
which is to say, i'm in the house, and the honu are on my arm. four of them. the largest in green, a smaller one in maroon, two, smaller still, in blue and orange.
the girl's name curves along one side of the vignette.
i got an orca tattoo to celebrate the birth of the boy, more than nine years ago. i said all along i'd get one for the girl as well...it just took a few years longer than expected. now that it's done, my inking is complete.
there was more pain involved this time. or, more pain than i remembered, anyway. more color this time. more area covered.
tattoo people, i decided while waiting, are outliers. i don't count myself among them, even now. i'm talking about people who have ink all over their bodies. ink sleeves on their arms, spider webs on their necks, elaborate murals on their backs. often there is a direct correlation between ink and piercings. ears, of course, but also tongues, and noses. lips and eyebrows have gone mainstream as well. scalps were new to me, as was the sternum stud on the girl at the front desk. i wanted to ask, "where does that anchor?" but i didn't.
others in the shop had large disks in lips and ears, like africans last seen in national geographic. i have no insight on the existential purpose of such fashion, across cultures, across continents. i don't feel part of whatever clique this describes. they have their reasons. i have mine.
a young man nearby, he must've still been in his teens, was having a major, intricate creation done on his side. he looked to be an athlete, a basketball player, by his build and his accoutrements. he was clearly in considerable pain, wringing a rolled-up towel in his strong hands when the needle was particularly pernicious. "always loved, never forgotten" his tattoo said. someone close to him had died, i not-so-cleverly surmised. if it's true, then why would the tattoo be necessary? pain on top of pain. i suppose we all have our ways of commemorating our humanity.
my tattoos, i like to think, are life-affirming and joyous. a lifelong reminder of unpredictable events set in motion long ago.
for more than nine years, owing to the presence of children i never dreamed i'd have, one day has rarely resembled another. but then, change keeps us young, lest we get too set in our ways. and it's good not to be too predictable.
so, after a long wait...there are honu in the house.