I’ve talked about tattoos before.

I have a love affair with tattoos.

Not the obnoxious, in your face kind.

The special ones.

Reserved for the most precious of reasons.

I’m not poetic about very many things, but there is something impossibly romantic about the thought of etching a memory permanently into your flesh.

Which says a lot, because I’ve never been able to tolerate pain.

I pierced my nose six or seven years ago, you know, with one of those teeny tiny diamonds that girls get when they still have cute enough boobs and no crows feet, that they can pull off by saying, look how adorable I am, even my nose sparkles!

I was sitting on the table waiting, the man asked me if I was ready, he jabbed the needle through my nose, and I immediately vomited all over the floor.   And him.

For 15 minutes, I threw up into a tiny trashcan, in a tiny tattoo parlor, with a six inch piercing needle stuck in my right nostril like some kind of witch doctor.

Ironically, I ripped the piercing out two days later while taking off a sweater.

But, for me, tattoos are different.

My brain categorizes the pain differently.

I have three tattoos.

My first, as you may have read, is no more.

My second was a last minute idea Andy and I had in college, after a case of beer and an entire box of Gumby’s cheese bread.   We have small Asian symbols that mean faithful.  I hope.  Luckily, they are very small and very hidden, only to be seen by proctologists or embalmers.

My third was the most special.

An intricate butterfly drawn by Megan.  She was an amazing artist, and we got tattoos together on the last birthday she celebrated.

It’s been five years and the tattoo still hurts for reasons that have nothing to do with needles.

For almost a year, I have wanted to get a tattoo for Andy.

And, he has been like, you seriously don’t need to get a tattoo for me, you know, and I am like, DON’T TELL ME HOW TO LOVE, ANDY.

People got squeamish when I mentioned putting his name on my body.

They spoke about jinxes and superstitions.

But, I already have a few scars reminding me of his presence in my life.

Most of them from episiotomies, and a mean looking one on my left hand from when I helped him catch his runaway cat in high school.  Twelve stitches.

I wanted a pretty scar.

Saturday I woke up early to meet the amazing tattoo artist, Ryan Thomas, who graciously agreed to come in at 9am, at Body Design Tattoo Studio.  My friend Emily, who was merely there for sick voyeuristic reasons as well as intrigue at my invitation of Ink & Eggs, came along to take pictures and comfort me if I cried…or threw up.

I get really weird and chatty in situations that involve some sort of impending doom.

Oh look, you have a daughter.

On a scale of one to ten, how bad does this hurt?

What if the needle pierces a major artery?

Has anyone ever bled out here before?

The oil spill is insane.

Is anyone else really, really hot?

Do you believe in God, Ryan?

Does this mole look weird to you?

I could probably kill somebody, if it really came down to it.

It was embarrassing.

This is the first tattoo I have that can be seen without taking off my pants.

I didn’t expect to feel as exposed as I do.   Having such a raw detail out there for the world to see.  I feel protective of it, but I guess that only shows how precious it is to me.

I didn’t get his name.

Instead, I thought of the most perfect word in the world to describe what he is to me.

Gravity.

I am all over the place.  Mentally.  Emotionally.  Everywhere.  He reels me back in.  He keeps me safe and grounded.  He has a pull over me.

Cheesy, I know, but utterly true.

And, even though he hates admitting it, he’s completely crazy about it.

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