The sad story behind my tattoos all begins with the first tattoo I ever got. A friend of mine was a tattoo artist with his own shop. He actually designed the tattoo for me as well. I got the tattoo in the middle of my upper back; it is of two female cherubs holding a banner between them which had both of their names tattooed inside of the banner. I got this tattoo in memory of two babies I had lost. I got the tat done on my 28th birthday, it took almost 4 hours just for the outline alone and then another 4 1/2 hours to shade. When it was finished and I was able to see the end result I literally cried because not only was it beautiful but it was also my first tattoo and it actually held sentimental value for me. I wish I had pics but when my old phone was destroyed so too were all of my pics. I loved how my friend had actually given the cherubs the exact eye and hair color my babies had been born with. My second tattoo was the semi-colon butterfly. The story behind that tattoo goes back to 1994 when I was only 14 years old. I became friends with the boy next door after moving up to Maine from my home down in NYC. He was a good looking Asian boy with manners and a smile girls would literally swoon over. His names was Tim, and because this is a true story I will protect the privacy of my friends family by not giving any last names. Anyway as I was saying Tim was exactly a year older than me, not only did we go to school together but we were also next door neighbors so we hung out a lot. His mother’s family owned a Chinese restaurant right next door to the park we would play in. Our families became fast friends. Well anyway to get back to what I was saying. The story starts with Tim dating a mutual friend. I had warned him against dating her but poor kid wouldn’t listen so he wound up learning the pain of a broken heart the hard way. The chick ended up cheating on him and breaking up with him in front of the entire school. He became really distraught and started becoming anti-social. All of a sudden I get a call one Friday night asking me if I’d like to go to his place to watch the Lakers game on the tv down in their parents basement bar. I was so happy to hear him sounding so upbeat I agreed to be there. I woke on Saturday morning all excited to finally get to hangout with my best friend. Well about an hour into the game I see Tim get up and head to the stairs. I let him get a head start on me only so he wouldn’t see me get up therefore he wouldn’t know that I was following him. As I got to the top of the stairway I saw Tim go around the corner and into his grandparents room. I heard what I thought were bullets being loaded into a gun and then I heard the hammer as it was being pushed back. I literally ran into the door of the room while opening it. There Tim sat in his grandparents bed spinning the chamber of the gun he held in his hand. I asked him what he was doing and his response was to ask me why he wasn’t good enough. I began telling him how he had done nothing wrong and how she was just being a gold digger and how he was smart and funny and cute and how one day he would forget all about this and find someone who will truly love him. He kinda scoffed at me and went quiet for a second. I finally asked him why he had the gun and why he was playing with it. I then lectured him on how dangerous guns could be if not handled properly. He looked up and smiled at me then responded with where he had found it and how he had been taught from a young age how to carefully handle a gun. I told him to put it away and to come back downstairs cause his friends were down there waiting for him. After all he had invited everyone so that automatically made him the host. He then began to empty all but one of the chambers of the gun. He spun the chamber back in place and asked me if I’d ever heard of Russian roulette, which I had thanks to the types of movies I was into. I told him to quit screwing around and to empty the gun, put it away where he found it and come back downstairs with me. He then put the gun to the side of his head and pulled the trigger, it clicked but nothing happened due to that chamber being empty which meant one of the remaining four chambers had a bullet inside of it. At this point I start to panic. I start begging him to put the gun down. I told him he was scaring me. I began sobbing as the second click sounded indicating he had 3 more chambers left and one had a bullet waiting to be fired. I started screaming for someone to call his parents and inform them of the situation. I went over to the bed and tried talking the gun out of his hand and then I grabbed for it but had it quickly yanked back out of my reach. Third click....my heart is pounding trying to get my best friend to relinquish the gun to me. He pushes me from the bed and onto the floor and as I scramble to get up he stands up directly over me, looks directly at me and says “Tell Belinda I loved her.”and then he proceeds to pull the trigger, this time there’s a loud bang and lots of blood and I watch as Tim’s lifeless body crumbles to the floor. Tim had taken his own life right in front of me and there was not one God damn thing I could do to stop him. I was so torn up over his death that I refused to attend his funeral or the memorial that was held in his honor at school. I was so pissed off at myself for not knowing what to do to stop him and then I was pissed off at Tim for doing such a thing to me; his best friend. I was traumatized. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I stopped talking. I just didn’t understand why he’d choose to take his own life over a failed high school relationship. It blew my mind. Everyone at school blamed the girl for his death. To this day I still think about it and I still find myself asking why. I have since come to lose many other dear friends to suicide. It feels like it has become an epidemic. I still don’t know how to feel about any of it because I too suffer from depression and I too wanted to take my own life. I came close to doing just that twice. I just could never understand being so upset over a silly little high school fling that I’d have ever wanted to kill myself. Two months after I got this tattoo a very dear person who was close to me took her life as well and it broke my heart. And her reason in the note she left behind had to do with her relationship. Then a year later another of my friends ended his life over some chick breaking his heart. So yea this tattoo has a bittersweet reason behind it. It is in memory of not only my friends and family who took their own lives but also to all of the other lives lost to suicide around the world. This tattoo also reminds me of all of the shit I’ve managed to overcome in my life and it reminds me that my story isn’t over yet for there are many more chapters that need to be written before my book comes to its conclusion.