The Illustrated Woman

My life has been reduced to notes. Everyday I have a list to remind me of who to call and where my next errand will be. I have recently started a new note. Remember to look at your notes! I should become like the illustrated man who tattooed his entire body with important events so he wouldn’t forget them. Mine would look like this.

When I wake in the morning with a big yawn and my hand starts to cover my mouth I will see tattooed on it good morning, Ruth. You love coffee. So I will never forget my name and never forget that that I also like to drink coffee. I’ll stumble to the bathroom and as I turn my palm over to turn on the faucet I see tattooed on top of my hand two sugars one cream.

Perfect! When I go out to a restaurant or Starbucks I’ll just show then my hand.

Left and right will be tattooed across my toes so I’ll keep up in exercise class. No one will be yelling, “The other left, the other right.” I’ll keep up with my lefty righty toes. In case I lose my cell phone, no problem. Each finger will have an important phone number tattooed on it. I’ll have index fingers.

My left arm will have Book Club friends and close friends on it and lists of books I’ve read. My right arm will have dance friends and a list of all the ballroom and swing dances I’ve learned.

My family will be tattooed on my heart. I’ll have to do that one backwards though. It’s hard to read upside-down. Every morning I will look in the mirror and count my blessings; the names of one son, one daughter, their spouses and four grandkids.

I’ll have to stay the same weight though. If I get real skinny the words will shrink and I won’t be able to read them. And if I get too fat the words will fall into a fold or spread out and be blurry. It will be an eyestrain either way.

It’s a good thing I’m single now. When I was married my husband would get mad at me for so many insignificant things. It could be squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle and not the end or not putting my shoes in the closet and he’s tripped over them. I can’t tell you how many times he’s yelled at me, “If you do that one more time I’ll skin you alive!”

I mouth, “Read my lips,” and tattooed on the top of them is, I’m sorry.

By Ruth Lathrop

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