Sometimes things happen and you feel that you need to mark them down
TORONTO. 10TH AUGUST, 1996.
Alexander the Great Coin - Left Ribcage
He is giddy and he isn't often giddy. But the day has finally arrived. He holds a wad of cash and his driver's licence and pushes through the door of the tattoo parlour. No one notices him. He can hear buzzing from behind a wall. It's covered with intricate designs and aged photographs of sailors from the turn of the century. He walks up to the counter where a huge, gruff man sits reading a magazine. There's a naked woman on the cover. Titus can feel his cheeks burning, but not because of that. The man doesn't look up, just slides his hand forward and takes the cash when Titus offers it.
TORONTO. 31ST DECEMBER, 1996.
Celtic Tree of Life - Left, Lower Back
He returns four months later. The same gruff man is at the counter, but this time, Titus receives a greeting.
MISSISSIPPI. 20TH SEPTEMBER, 2003.
Raven and Clock - Left Forearm
He's drunk and he's laughing as the needle breaks through the dermis of his skin. His best friend is sitting opposite him with a grin that extends from ear to ear. This is the best idea they've had all semester. The buzzing is ringing in his head as he waxes lyrical on the significance of the bird and the clock. He makes references to Odin the Allfather, but he has no idea what he's saying. But his friend understands, a language of inebriation.
BOSTON. 10TH AUGUST, 2014
Lion - Inner Left Bicep
His thirty-fifth birthday. If he's being honest with himself, he'll admit he never thought he would get this far. He's the same age his mother was when she died. The thought makes him feel hollow. He thinks about the drink, but five months sober and he can't let himself slip.
BOSTON. 12TH APRIL, 2015
Icarus - Lower Left Back
His first anniversary. He toasts in the only way he knows how, straddling a chair and leaning forward as the needle sinks into the flesh of his lower back. The first jab stings and he grimaces, but he quickly falls into the rhythm. It is almost meditative. He stares at the wall ahead of him. He can see his reflection in the mirror. There is colour in his cheeks and he looks healthy. He still doesn't sleep well, but eventually he'll get there. One day at a time. One. Day. At. A. Time.
BOSTON. 12TH APRIL, 2016
Angel Portrait of Beverley-Ann Lawson, Left Shoulder and Arm
The second anniversary is when they finish the piece. It is fitting, but a part of him still cannot shake the image of his mother in his nightmares. He tells no one, but he hopes that the dream is not prophecy. He cannot trust his dreams of late, so it's easy to believe. Despite it, his greatest wish is the same now as it was when he was a child. He hopes, he prays that she is proud. That wherever she is, she loves him still. That she watches him now. Alex cannot bring her back. He's made pleas and bargained with God his entire life to see her again. He had stood on the edge of a cliff, wondering if it would be her face that would greet him if he just took one more step.