I asked him on our way if he was nervous or scared. Surprisingly–to himself–he was not.
He sees flashes of his dad in pictures of himself, in the laugh of his son, in the smiles of his aunts and uncles, in the gait of his brother.
The design he had emailed back and forth on for months–even years–with his best friend and graphic design artist rested in the space beneath the radio in the dash.
He can feel his father on the breeze off the lake, in the waves lapping against the beach, in the embrace of his grandmother.
I had joked with him earlier if he needed to shave his leg himself and if he was ready for the fun of stubble on his calf as the hair grew back.
There is an emptiness in the dark of night when he wonders what it would be like to have his dad around to help with basement remodels and yard projects and son-rearing.
He is remarkably calm and even jovial as he cracks jokes with the artist and gets settled on the bench.
He has no idea how much he is his dad right now. Facing pain with a smile and a joke. Making those around him comfortable in the presence of what will be HIS pain.
He is deep in thought as his wife and the artist chat and joke and discuss the process. It’s good that she came. It’s good that she is there with him for this.
Even in the pain he can feel his dad. Each week, in the same arm, a needle was stuck. But it was not infusing ink under his dad’s skin. It was poison that was being injected.
Sooner than later–after winces, but no sound–it was over.
His dad is his guide. Even in spirit.
His anchor and his helms wheel.
This week’s prompt was to tell a story–fiction or non–about a tattoo in 300 words or less. This is a true story from my imagination. For a picture, go here.