When I turned 50, I told my husband I wanted to commemorate hitting the half century mark by either getting a tattoo or a motorcycle.
Not terribly original I know, but it was my feeble attempt to keep age at bay, this plan to disguise myself as a badass.
“Then get the tattoo. Because you’re not getting a motorcycle. They’re too dangerous,” was his directive.
My nod to my husband was to choose a Celtic design with three trinity knots. He loved all things Irish (except beer and whiskey) and had a Rain Man fascination with the number three. (Hence why after he died I had to deal with a storage room chock full of tools of every kind in multiples.)
The day we went to the tattoo parlor is as clearly etched on my brain as the tattoo now on the back of my neck. He sat with me during the whole process, watching with fascination as he had done countless times when I was at the doctor’s office getting some minor medical procedure performed.
A few months after he had died, I decided to get that motorcycle. I signed up for the safety course, which was the first step. Then fate (or James) stepped in. I had posted before about Falling off a ladder and fracturing my ankle. Badass plans averted.
I know in hindsight putting that decision off for a year was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I harbored a lot of anger that first year against my husband for leaving me. I was getting the bike out of a “fuck you” spite, knowing he’d hate the idea. I also quite frankly, had a small death wish brewing in my core and wanted to do something reckless.
But when a year had passed, I realized I still wanted the bike but for different, less dark reasons. I’d wanted one since as a 10-year-old, I had come across a glossy, full-page photo of a bright orange Suzuki 750 in a magazine. The time now seemed right, and so I took the class, got my license and my bike (no, not the Suzuki).
Last year, I was on a business trip and somehow during a conversation with my boss, my tattoo came up. I turned around and showed him the ink on the nape of my neck.
“Why would you get a tattoo that you cannot see?” he asked, clearly puzzled.
“Oh, I know it’s there.”