Saturday, October 02, 2004

Some things give you a jolt however often you see them.

I remember the first time I saw a number tattooed on someone’s arm. I must have been about ten. I was on the bus home from school, the number thirty-three.

She was sitting across from me, a large woman who seemed to me to be in her fifties, wearing a sleeveless cotton print dress. Little flowers, I think the pattern was, although the colors were faded from age and use. She had one of those awful pale green plastic baskets everyone used for carrying groceries from the store in those days. And there, on the inner side of her flabby white forearm was a little blue tattoo, a row of hardly distinguishable numbers.

I remember being surprised that the numbers were so blurred.

There were a lot of people with those tattoos back then. You don’t see them as often nowadays.