Love, Tattoos, and The Little Prince
When I was seventeen years old, I fell in love with a 'much older' guy, named Zach. He was an English major at the local university, and for one of his assignments had to write a response to Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince. He asked me if I had ever read it, which I hadn't, so I took it upon myself to borrow his copy and finish it.
Now, here's the part where I'll make my confession: I'm not that into classic literature. In fact, I'm about as cultured as a plastic Dixie cup. For the first half of The Little Prince, I wanted to put it down and continue reading Stephen King (or, even better, watch Friends.) But that crazy little thing called love forced me to continue through the book, since I wanted to have something intellectual to discuss with my much older, university dwelling bed buddy. I was really surprised at the end of the book when I actually liked it.
A few months later, Zach dumped me, and I was crushed. At first my friends and family were very supportive of my constant bawling, but after weeks and weeks of futile attempts to cheer me up, they all gave up and left me alone with my self-pity.
One night, I was browsing through the bookstore down the street from my house when I came across a copy of The Little Prince. Memories of Zach came rushing back when I held the flimsy book in my hands, but instead of feeling sad, I was filled with the most overwhelming sense of joy I'd felt since he and I were together. I purchased the book that very same night and took it home to re-read. I cried the entire night, but it wasn't because I was sad: I was relived. Relived because I'd realized that having my heart broken was a necessary part of growing up and becoming a better person. This beautiful little book really emphasized how I felt in words: "It is only with the heart one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
It didn't take long for me to decide that I wanted The Little Prince tattooed on me. I already had several tattoos, all of which mark significant people, events or philosophies in my life. I felt that learning to love someone unconditionally and forgiving them for hurting me merited getting a tattoo, and since The Little Prince had helped me come to such terms, it fit the bill.
One day after work, I drove to a tattoo shop downtown with my own purchased copy of The Little Prince. The guys there knew me by name since I had gotten a few other tattoos there in the past. They photocopied the picture I wanted and re-sized it for me. I had decided to get it put on my ankle, since my back was pretty occupied with tattoos already. All the guys' at the shop asked me why I'd decided to get a tattoo from a kid's book put on me. I told them it was for 'personal reasons', since I didn't think they'd understand (or even be interested in) my long, sappy story about falling and love and learning a lesson.
As I expected, the tattoo didn't hurt much at all, and the artist--who's name was George-- was laughing about how he'd never had such a 'chatty' client. It took him about an hour to finish my Prince, who stands proudly at about three inches tall, wearing a glorious orange and blue coat, sword drawn. George bandaged me up, went over all the aftercare, and wished me a good day when I walked out the door.
I resisted showing everyone my new tattoo right away. Unlike my other tattoos, I hadn't told anyone else that I was planning on getting it beforehand, and it was kind of fun having this little secret. I could only hold it in for about a week, though, before I began showing it off to my friends and family members, who were all glad to see I had pulled out of my sadness and turned back into my happy-go-lucky, body modifying self. I would defiantly say that just getting the tattoo itself was a huge part of healing process for me: some girls shop when they're feeling blue, I get tattoos.
There are still times when I miss Zach, and have to remind myself that I was lucky to have had him in my life at all, even if it was for a very short period of time. My tattoo is a constant reminder to me that I am able to love, and when the time is right, will love again.
I would defiantly recommend Don't Tell Momma's tattoo studio for anyone in the South Eastern Ontario area, and The Little Prince for anyone who hasn't gotten the chance to read it yet.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 27 May 2005