i’ve been obsessed with looking at tattoo pictures today. it’s filled my thoughts the past few days.
i think about it while i do the dishes
i think about it while i walk downtown
i lay in bed, contemplating it
i’ve had the idea for around 13 years or so. i was somewhere between 17-18 when it first formed. sort of as a faint idea in the back of my head. it solidified a couple of years later.
during those horrible junior high years when everything was bleak and dark, there were moments where i felt completely alone. the only person i felt i could turn to was my uncle frank. he didn’t judge me, he didn’t pry, he was just there. he taught me about life. if he was fixing some plumbing thing, he’d show me how. if he was putting up a wall, he’d show me how. he made an adapter to hook his binoculars to his tripod from odd plumbing parts, he showed me how. he gave me his 35mm camera, showed me the basics, and sent me on my way. he knew when to guide me and when to let me struggle.
the night sky was our favourite.
there was a lunar eclipse, i think it was a partial, on a school night. he dragged me out of bed to watch it. we sat on my back step wrapped in blankets. it was starting to dawn on me how lucky i was to have him.
i woke up one night to small pebbles being thrown at my bedroom window. i could hear my name being whispered loudly. it was him. there was a meteor shower. his excitement was infectious. i can still hear his gasps and “did you see that?!?” if i close my eyes.
we found the andromeda galaxy through his binoculars. it was incredibly faint, looked like a smudge. he was so pissed that we couldn’t see more, while i stood there, staring at this smudge that was another fucking galaxy. i remember saying something like “frank, we’re looking at another galaxy. even if it’s a smudge, that’s incredible.”
so many nights we huddled around those binoculars and our star charts, freezing, but not going inside until we felt we were finished.
he died when i was 16, and my life was changed forever.
whenever i look up at the night sky in the winter, i see orion and i think of him. i want a tattoo of orion. i just don’t know how i want it designed.
(it may even have been during the orionids when he threw pebbles at my window. i remember it was chilly. he had his hands in his pockets and he kept moving around as if he had a chill.)
(i’m debating about incorporating canis major into it, for his dog, marcy. we took her in as our own when he died. she was very special to us.)