Surface Level, Soul Deep
I have a tattoo on my left wrist. It's of the Jamaican flag. Many were in disbelief that I actually got one. A few tried to scrape it off, thinking it was fake or a sticker. That still makes me chuckle. Here is why I got it.
It represents my past.
It's only stamp-sized but it holds a lot of weight. It's a way for me to carry with me the things I left behind in the place I was born. Shaped. Forged. It's my (now deceased) grandparents. My childhood home. My favourite beach. The stoop my bestie and I spent countless afternoons. My education. The foundation of my faith. Where unsavory things happened to #metoo. The loves had, and lost.
It is my present.
The way I speak. Why I love Celine Dion. Why the collective is greater than the individual. It is why I think the way I do. Why I make my bed almost everyday and feel extremely guilty when I don't. Why I smile at or wave to strangers. It is why "Sir, Miss, Ma'am." It is the empty threats of death. It's why I touch (okay slap) you when I'm excited. It is football and tears or rejoicing during World Cup. It is a dutchie, Wray And Nephew Overproof White Rum, ginger and cerasee tea, and bleach always in my house. It is my husband knowing patois. It is reggae music on Saturdays.
It is my future.
Depending on how my end plays out...nursing home or hospice house or hospital, road side... some astute social worker or nurse notices and knows something about me. It is a form of communication if I am unable. Perhaps they will think to play some Bob Marley for me (yes please). Or sneak in and dab my tongue with rum (yes Lawd, please). If I cannot speak, perhaps it will speak for me. A call to some commemorative action. An honoring of where I began.
Jamaica, land I love.