We walked into the tattoo parlor and I handed the artist my font of choice and inscription desired. It was a date of sorts for us. He held my hand and I lied on my side feeling the needle pulsate in and out of my skin.
"How do you like it?" the talkative tattoo artist asked.
A couple months before that my mother moved out of my childhood home. My parents divorce was still fresh and unfinalized. My ex's father died and a month after that we broke up. I finished high school and was burnt out emotionally. I didn't start preparations for college or begin to enjoy the first flush of summer. I sat in my room a lot.
"White red and sleeping pills
Help me get back to your arms
Cheap sex and sad films
Help me get where I belong"
I met Greg online on another night of making my room a foxhole of cigarettes and Elliot Smith. We talked and commiserated quickly. We met and while we were happy to begin a new romance, both of us were suppressing a dark place. Battling our own dysphorias. It took a long time, and more than that it took honesty, but somehow we managed to get through it together.
I carry that first tattoo on my hip as a reminder of that. Of how far I've come, how far we've come. And though it's been weathered with stretchmarks and though it could use a touch-up, I still cherish it.
We must sometimes embrace the darkness to appreciate the light.
(Id Quoque Transibit also known as "This Too Shall Pass")
And so when I stumbled upon this song again after not hearing it for too long, I couldn't help but cry. It is exactly the musical manifestation of my feelings when I went into that tattoo parlor on 6th Street.
It has passed. And all is well.