I have blocked most of the events that followed from my memory. It was a haze of hunger, of ashes, of lost faith. God existed, certainly. I was sure of that. But what a
sadistic God he was. No God, loving or otherwise, could have won my allegiance
then. I banished Him from my life. And I was alone, with my dark-gray jumble of
Only two distinct memories remain, until the end;
An ebony tattoo and
I never wanted to get a tattoo. It was a taboo to me. While other people might choose to get one, the idea of sticking a needle covered in ink into my skin was abhorrent to me. It was even more abhorrent because I knew that it was taking away my name. I
froze solid in the stream of people, trying to find somewhere to run.
I wanted to stay there, let the people around me flow away. But I was pushed into motion by strangers’ hands. I walked up to a skinny woman with the long needle. I turned away and gritted my teeth as she carved out a new name for me.
I looked at it for a while as I walked away. I smiled at the first three digits. By complete coincidence, my fastest mile time was 5:14. It was like a friendly glimpse from behind a veil. I smiled for the last time in years.
The last three digits were a coincidence too. 3:11. My six year old brain could not remember much about the night my mother died, but it remembered one thing with absolute clarity. 3:11 AM was the precise time she died. Precisely. A chill broke the
smile off my face.
Oh, what a God we have. What a vicious, ironic God.