I’m not tattooing your name on my forearm in Cantonese, Mandarin or Tengwar because that will only confine you, strip you of your integrity and wholeness and make you a label – something paraded for the charlatans of society and it’ll make us one of them: superficial and shallow, never penetrating to the depths of authentic love. No, if I were to get a tattoo, I’d ink my skin with something that embodies or personifies your core, because drawing out your heart and letting it submerge in mine is what love’s all about, and it isn’t a one-sided affair. You do the same each time we stroll with my arms around your shoulder, or if we’re in bed sighing, and whispering these twisted fantasies that are the secrets we keep. So, maybe I’ll mark myself with a Kraken because you stretch your limbs and drown me in an abyss of an almost perfect love when I’m setting sail to lands of paranoia and delusion, where the shores are made of black glass shards, and each step is a cut, making little red soldiers of agony rush forth, and I’m left helpless, unable to stop the flow. So maybe I’ll mark myself with that mythical creature because like its tentacles, you have myriad facets to your personality; many I haven’t discovered yet. And maybe I’ll mark myself with that beast because despite your petite external beauty, there’s an impulse within you to destroy my insanity and drag me with you to Atlantis, where you’ll morph and become much more than a woman or a being: a force making me breathe though I’m suspended in the blue. And maybe you’ll think these images are crude, and rob you of your femininity, but you need to step into the figurative and look beneath each contour sketched, each line written and you’ll know that I’m only epitomizing your strength and independence, your desire and solitude, and that these images only serve to tell our story, but when shredded, exposed and left raw, it all goes back to one fact again and again, which is this love that keeps us striving.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)