So I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo for awhile. I brought it up to Emily maybe a year ago and she actually said: Where do you want to get it? The inside of your wrist?
Seriously, weird twinsie thing going on there because that’s actually where I wanted it.
The reason I hadn’t done it yet is because I was torn between two ideas. What I really wanted was a little firefly. Why? Because of this passage I found in the beginning of Dan Barry’s “Pull me up.”
I have rustled through life with a notebook pressed to my chest and a pen bleeding in my pocket. They are the instruments I use to ease the low-grade panic born of the absurd sense that it is my passion to record moments. I chase stories with pen and paper the way a child chases fireflies … But when I capture those moments, those fireflies, I do not know what to do next. The light dies to leave shells of moments, just words, recorded on scraps of paper, bar napkins and old reporter’s notebooks that I keep in boxes.
Why do I feel compelled to record life at the expense of living life? Why do I ignore the lessons learned from what I have been through? Why do I want to repair things that are beyond repair? Why am I nagged by the constant sensation that I should be somewhere else – standing there, not here; witnessing that, not this?
I read the passage to Mom and Dad the other day, and Mom yelled out, that sounds just like you. Turns out though, there aren’t any nice images of fireflies that I could find. Shocker.
My other idea was the Team Fox/Michael J Fox Foundation symbol, the fox.
Once I filled Emily in on my ideas, she said she might consider getting the fox with me. And it was dropped. But recently, it came back into our conversations, that we would do this for Dad over Thanksgiving.
For me, it was something I wanted to do for some time. And while the fox was my No. 2 symbol, once Emily said she’d want to do it, I was in. All in. Because for Emily to be willing to undergo a tattoo … let’s just say it’s probably in the top 5 bravest things she’s done. And when she survived that stingray attack, she had pain killers. But she also had me that time, too.
The day before Thanksgiving we piled in the car and took Mom and Dad to the tattoo parlor we researched. The guy had our drawings already done for us. We were off.
I went first, which Emily will now admit she wishes she went first. I have this horrible tendency to just make a weird smile and pretend things don’t hurt. But THIS HURT. Boy howdy. Eventually she could tell as I kept closing my eyes and refused to make eye contact with her.
When it was her turn, she got up, stoically sat down and held out her arm. As I sat there holding her hand, she barely squeezed it. She was resolved in her decision to do something that scared the bejesus out of her for Dad. For our cause to cure Parkinson’s. I know it sounds silly, but it was probably one of my top 3 proudest moments as her twin. Probably only No. 3 though, because she’s pretty darn awesome and this is just a tattoo.
I was thinking about it after, as Mom asked the guy if he had any drawings of fireflies and I waved it off saying maybe another day. Because if you think about it, this fox — this Team Fox journey we’re all on — it’s just another way I continue to chase fireflies.