The first time I got sick from alcohol, at fifteen, I was with all three of my older brothers–at a Christmas party that my oldest brother M’s best friend held annually at his Tribeca loft.
It wasn’t their fault. Each time I finished off a Heineken, said best friend would swing by and replace it; before anyone could have seen or stopped it, I found myself in the bathroom with M holding my hair back and showing me how to use my fingers to make myself throw up. (A skill that, not too many but a few times since, I have been very, very grateful for.)
Putting me to bed that night, my brother J’s then girlfriend made the well-intentioned but misguided move of placing my trash can next to the bed. The parents were furious with all of my brothers for months.
If you’ve ever been a sibling, you can understand that, as the baby girl, I will always be the baby girl: at fifteen, at twenty-seven, at forty. There is a way in which, in my family’s eyes, I will never be as accountable as my older brothers.
A fact that, I’m sure, was in the back of J’s mind when he took me, today, to get matching tattoos: my first, his a small complement to the collection that already fills both his arm sleeves.
So here’s the story:
Up until last Friday, I’d always told people that I “didn’t understand” tattoos.
“I just don’t get it,” I’d say. “I can’t imagine any image that I’d know I’d want on my body forever.”
And then, a day before he and his wife D arrived in New Mexico after driving six days in a rented minivan to get here, J sent me a text: “Tiny matching tattoos in NM?!”