Etched in black ink, a time of my life that I will never forget. That newer memories will never wash away, so that I don't accuse my own short-sightedness for my pain.
A time when I destroyed, constructed and battled to preserve my soul, every day. A trinity of pain, relief and the spasm in between: and because this is a battle that I can win only if I lose some bits of me, I carve it on my body, like a birth mark, so I take its memories and lessons to the void and beyond. I may not take this body further with me, but this is the closest I came to actually marking my soul. Will I remember me still, then?
Nino is very excited about my new tattoo. He's seen the one on my ankle, but that has always been there. This one, this trishul on my back, is new. He's seen it bleed, he's helped me dress it, and rubbed vaseline onto it when the scabs began to fall off.
Why din't you just paint one, he asks me. Well, it'll wash off in the shower, no? I tell him. He watches me answer the many queries the tattoos get. Permanent means what, mama? he says. Permanent is what will be with you forever: it does not go away, I say, and before I can add an example to cement the meaning - that old soul in the toddler's body says, so Permanent is Painful?
I brushed that answer away quickly, saying silly stuff like my love for you is permanent, that tickle in Nanan's nose is permanent... but his answer shook me for a bit. Sometimes I wonder if I teach you the lessons of age too early in life, Nino.