I had a fabulous dream last night. It was so vivid that for the first few minutes after waking up, I believed that everything I experienced had really transpired. I was very disappointed when the sandman’s carefully sprinkled dust fell away from my eyes and I stepped into real life, where my mother wasn’t a terrible tattoo artist, I didn’t live in my childhood home in India and my grandfather was no longer with us.
Well perhaps this dream wasn’t perfect. They never are. But the anticipation of getting another tattoo felt very real. I could practically taste the feeling. I could drink it in. It’s been a whole day since I woke up. The feeling and details of the dream are slipping away. So I will attempt to get whatever I have held onto all day down into words.
The dream started in the middle of a story, as it always does (Dr. Who had an explanation for this in one of the episodes. I now forget what it was). I was in a small room, with barely any standing room, lying on a cushion table, supporting my weight on my side. My mother was at one end of the table near my feet, with a tattoo gun. She was not the soft, sweet mother I had grown up with either. She was this tough looking, tatted up lady with my mother’s face. While this ensemble should have struck me as odd, I was too excited about getting inked. I was going to get a treble clef on my ankle. I somehow knew that I had already communicated what I wanted to my “mother” sitting on a stool, ready to get to work with her tattoo gun.
5 minutes passed by and I felt no pain . Having been tattooed before this wasn’t normal (but then nothing really was). I looked at my ankle trying to determine if my “mother” was making progress. There was an ugly treble clef the size of my hand drawn (dotted lines) on my ankle and a good part of my calf with what seemed like blue ball pen. I didn’t want that ugly, overly angular, huge treble clef on me. My mother was about to take her tattoo gun and trace the design, making it a permanent addition to my person. This was unacceptable. I pushed away the gun, risking injury to my hand in the process. “Mother” was startled.
“I don’t want that” I pseudo – yelled, scared that if I really yelled I might get smacked. “what do you want then” I heard the soft tone of my real life mother escape the lips of the herculean woman that sat before me. “I’ll show you” I said as I stepped out of the tiny room.
I wanted the silver charm I had once bought, tattooed on my ankle. It was the perfect shape and size. I had been thinking about it a while. Music meant a great deal to me. It had been my companion, through everything, as long as I could remember. I’m listening to my shuffle as I write this. The treble clef was to act as a reminder of an honest truth of my life, that even if I lost everything, I would always have music to get my through.
I knew where the silver charm was. I always know. The intricately engraved silver box. I was headed to grab the charm from my silver jewelry box in this beautiful dream where I was finally going to get my third tattoo.
Except what lay outside that room wasn’t the house I currently reside in. The one with the silver box. It was my childhood home in India. Yet I was convinced that I would find the silver charm in the silver box on the second floor of the house where I had grown up. I just had to look for it in my bedroom. So I climbed up the stairs that had always seemed dangerously steep when I was growing up. As I approached the last few stairs, I saw my nanny/maid walk out of my second floor house towards the balcony. In her hand she held a wooden bristled broom. A part of her saree had been tucked into her waist band so that it wouldn’t sweep the floor picking up dirt as she worked. This scene was the definition of normalcy when I was growing up. What I saw next caught me off guard though. Even in my dream where I had bought every twist and turn so far with naivety . I saw my grandfather, who I lost this year, walking back from the balcony into the house. It had been years since my grandfather had walked out to the balcony or return from it by himself. I knew beyond doubt the impossibility of the scene playing out in front of me. It was the jolt I needed to wake up.
While most other memories from the dream seem to fade with time, I can still see my grandfather in his white shirt and kurta (loose Indian pants), walking back into the house. If music got me through losing him, I think I am justified in wanting a treble clef permanently etched into my skin.
It would really piss off my real life mother though. She has barely survived having to accept the reality of the two I have now. If she is reading this, however, I would like to pose a question
CAN I HAZ TATTOO? PURHEASE?