It was a Sunday like any other. A handful of friends, we were lazily lounging around in Aubrey’s tattoo studio, joking and chatting the day away, when a very beautiful looking lady strutted in. The scent on her reminded me of a place I had never been, a face I had never seen. But she was not there for me; she was there to choose the design for a tattoo she intended to return the following week to have done. My attention returned swiftly to the man cave conversation around the hookah, while Aubrey hooked up his computer to the projector and attended to the elegantly dressed young lady.

I would have let her go as soon as she and Aubrey were done, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. It was something about the design she had just chosen. The five letter word that made warm air to fill up my lungs and seemingly the entirety of my scrawny torso. In a very decorated and love-oozing font, on the projector screen in front of us, was the name “Emily”. I asked the sister who Emily was to her and after a brief pause; she explained to me that Emily was the name of her mother. She told me, however, that her mother had sadly passed on, and she wanted to have a tattoo done of her name so that she would always preserve her memory. As the sister left, I remember a brief absence of the hookah pipe’s “boiling” sound, absence of conversation; just complete silence in the room. The sister’s story had hit home, but to me, it had done more.

To me, it was a special moment that made me remember the profound phrase: “Buy them flowers while they can still smell them.” It was profound because you see; my mother’s name is also Emily, and at that time, she was not in a good space. Least to say, she was feeling the brunt of being a single mother to three boys.

I decided that very moment I was going to get my very first tattoo and it was going to be something very special – a tattoo of my mother’s name. A mark I was ready to explain with pride to strangers all my life and a permanent mark I was willing to take all the way to my grave. As the ink needle danced back and forth over my arm, I remembered how my mother had always been prepared to give anything for me and my brothers. It was far from being equal reciprocation, but there I sat, giving an arm for my mom.

Today, whenever I am asked what the tattoo means to me and who Emily is, I smile and say, “Don’t worry; she is one lady who will never become my ex.

My Something Special, My Tattoo of my Mother’s name