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The tattoos we must live with.



Backstory

I get bored at work.

4. We learn in Text 1 that fans have been tattooed with Robert Montgomery’s poetic words.

Write a short-story in which a tattoo plays an important part in the narrative.

*

“If ever you get a tattoo, don’t come home,” my mother said to me when I was eight.

So I didn’t, but my fascination didn’t fade.

Not then anyway; I was too busy chasing the children of a couple covered head to foot in ink – the family of four sharing our compound by the sea.

‘They wear art on their sleeves,’ I used to think, while we played in their half of the bungalow; my brother and my parents forgotten about, a memory as distant as the couple’s skin that lay beneath.

*

I began to fall out of love with the tat during my aunt’s phase of having her rose removed. Kathleen, a self-styled ‘Cathy’, had always been a little too cool for school.

Then 10, even I couldn’t appreciate the mis-logic of spending thousands of pounds on laser treatments to remove something that didn’t cost more than a hundred – two at most; years on and off of travelling to and fro to conceal something that took minutes to imbue.

*

I don’t recall any brushes with ink during my teenage years; I had enough to be dealing with, and mother’s warning was tattooed to my brain.

But I did support Manchester United a lot, especially when they won. David Beckham was covered – worse than the couple I’d fallen for.

Even Roy Keane had a few. When asked why he’d a tattoo of each of his children’s names, but none of his wife’s, Keane replied: “My children will always be my children; my wife may not always be my wife.”

*

After I left home, went to college, worked, became an ‘adult’, various girlfriends had them. I couldn’t escape my mother’s prejudice but I remained intrigued. Always I asked, “Would you get another?” and (if they answered Yes), “What of?” – thinking the answer would tell me all I need know.

Whatever they said told me much but not everything. People who think they’d like another tattoo are very different to those who want one and know exactly what of.

*

Now, an older man, I have my own.

You and I know them as scars: those internal and invisible, and those that stare us out of it whenever we dare look.

I think of my old loves as scars; people who cut themselves out, or whom I cut out of my life. Only healed tissue remains.

And I have a small number of actual scars: baby ones I collected, medals of honour from childhood wars – falls, burns, cuts, studs – and one from a surgical knife. Not my last I'm sure.

I joke to mother that I finally have my tattoo, one inked by life.

The truth is this: Life scars us each in its own way; these are the tattoos we must live with.

by NeilSlevin in Six Words About Work - Inspirations on Aug 15, 2017 | add favorite | T-shirt

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