Body Art

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing: Being With You – Smokey Robinson – Billboard Top Hits: 1981

This week, the one true love said, ‘when I get into the money, I’m gonna get a tattoo of a snake, maybe somewhere on my ankle’.

I have a tattoo on my arm, a tribal-like thingie of a dragon, in black, but which is now so faded that people think I got it a long time ago.

I got the tatt done three years ago now, back when Karen and I spent every waking moment together. We were browsing around Queensway Shopping Centre looking for a cheap pair of sandals, as one does when one is there, and we walked past the tattoo parlour on the third floor. This was no ‘modern’ tattoo parlour, like the ones you’d see on Orchard Road and thereabouts. This was a Hokkien-speaking, chain-smoking, Kuan-Yin-Goddess-of-Mercy-tattoo-special-discount, simi-si-Celtic-design tattoo parlour.

Karen said, ‘Hey, let’s each get one’, while I looked at the second hand mobile phones in the adjacent shop window. Next thing I know, she leads me into the tattoo parlour and pores through the clear folder of designs. Next thing I know, she picks a dragon and says ‘let’s get this one’. Next thing I know, I’m sitting on a chair in pain and there’s blood flowing down my right arm.

The tattoo ‘artist’ comments in Hokkien that I bleed unusually profusely and says he has to use extra ink. Or something. At the other end of the parlour, Karen is going ‘Ow, fuck! Dammit! It didn’t hurt so much the last time. Fuck!’.

Half a box of kleenex later, we leave the parlour with bloodshot eyes and sport identical bandages which we lift and peek into every now and again on the way home, as if to check if the ink’s run. Her bandage is just below and to the left of her belly button, while mine’s on my right arm.

So, Karen and I have the same dragon tattoo. Much like how some people close to each other have same rings, except it’s a bit harder to take off a tattoo. I don’t attribute any other special meaning to that. I am just too open to suggestion.

Puff the Frivolous Dragon