They say it happens to all women at some point in life.
Like a fool, I didn't believe "them".
It was a Saturday morning like any other. I woke up like usual and stepped into the shower.
My mistake was looking in the mirror where the truth screamed out like a raven on the hunt: What stared back at me in that mirror was...was...my Mother's body!
Not the body she had before she married my Dad and had five kids. That lithe, 5 foot 4 inch, 98 pound body with the curves and pert breasts, but her middle-aged, overweight, saggy, post-five pregnancies, Mother's, body!
As I sat at the kitchen table wrapped in my bathrobe, staring morosely into my coffee, Anne, my partner made the mistake of asking me what was wrong.
"I have my mother's body", I mumbled to her, letting out a long sigh.
"Oh, you don't have your mother's body," she said, (though she couldn't look me in the eyes).
"I do too," I said persistently. "Look at me. What do you see?"
Anne looked intensely at me, probably wondering what the right answer would be.
"Well?" I insisted. "What do you see?"
"I see a new liver-spot," she said tentatively. "Right under your eye there. It hardly shows when you have your bifocals on."
"I'm a freak," I screamed, "A freak with liver spots!"
"You're not a freak," Anne said, "you're just getting older."
"I'm fat, and I'm a freak," I insisted as I poured another cup of coffee, and sat back down.
"You are not fat," Anne said, "you're just...plump."
"PLUMP? PLUMP? Thanksgiving turkeys are plump! Foster Farms chickens are plump! I'm fat. Fat and frumpy, just like my mother was. And I can't even blame it on having kids!"
"It's all your fault you know," I said pointing an accusatory finger at her.
"My fault," Anne said choking on her coffee.
"Yes your fault. You and your Russian family. `Eat, eat, dushka, you're too skeeeny.' That's all your mother says. Food and death, food and death. You Russians are obsessed with it!"
"Ya, we are a cheery lot aren't we?" Anne replied fingering her coffee cup. "But I think you're exaggerating about the food thing."
"Sheeya, right," I snorted. Your family won't go to the post office to buy a book of stamps without packing the Samovar!"
Two weeks later, after much thought, I finally decided what I would do about my mother's body--my body.
"I have decided to take drastic measures so I don't have to wake up every morning for the rest of my life in Mom's body," I told Anne.
"Drastic?" she replied. "Like a face lift?"
"No, not a face lift."
"No," I said incredulously. "I'm going to get a tattoo!"
Anne laughed at what she took to be a great joke.
"Wait a minute," she then said gasping, "are we talking--anchor-on-your-chest-- tattoo?"
Oh heck no I replied, "at the rate my chest is sagging? The tattoo would look like a Salvador Dali painting inside of a year. No, I'm talking about a nice, little, tasteful flower on my upper arm, which by the way does not look like my mother's."
"A flower," Anne said dryly.
"Small and tasteful," She went on, one eyebrow raising.
"Oh, very small and tasteful."
"So, let me get this right. You, who whines for weeks on end before you have to get your yearly flu-shot from a medical professional, are going to let some stranger, who's background and hygiene are dubious at best, poke your arm with a needle thousands of times, so you can have a tasteful--and I use that term loosely--tattoo put on your body?"
"Well geez Anne, you make it sound like I'm going to just stroll into the first sleezy dive I happen upon and do this on a whim. I plan on visiting some shops and questioning the artists vigorously while surreptitiously checking their fingernails for cleanliness. Then, if I find someone who doesn't appear to have done time in Sing-Sing, who has good references and who loves his mother, I will have him do it."
I thought the part about loving his mother would make a convincing argument.
She just rolled her eyes and sighed.
"All right," she finally acquiesced, "go ahead and do it. But I want to see what you're getting before you have it done."
I have to say I took the whole tattoo process very well. I visited a couple of local tattoo shops, grilled the artists with thought provoking, awe inspiring, soul searching questions like, "how much does it cost", and, "will it hurt."
Then when I had found the design I was looking for, Anne came with me and gave her ok to the tat. She even sat with me for the twenty or so minutes it took for the man to do it.
It wasn't until he finished up and started telling me how to care for my tattoo that things got ugly. I was fine, really I was. He was talking and I was uh-huhing, and then my face started feeling flush, my stomach instantly filled up with a gallon of acid, the man's voice started sounding warbled, and Anne said, "Are you all right? You look awful."
I must have looked awful because Anne had that, I'm-Russian-and-I-worry-excessively, look on her face.
I bolted for the bathroom with Anne right on my heels, and proceeded to hurl like I've never hurled before. I mean I hurled big-time. I mean, if hurling were an Olympic event, I would have taken the gold.
"You're such a stud," Anne said sarcastically as she handed me a wet paper towel. I was busy staring into the john so I didn't actually see her, but I am sure by the tone in her voice, she was rolling her eyes.
As I walked out of the shop still wiping my face with a paper towel, the tattoo artist asked me if I was all right.
"Oh ya," I said, "Just a little hypoglycemia. You know, low blood sugar," and I nearly ran for the door.
"I hope this concludes your little side trip into mid-life crisis," Anne said in the car on the way home.
"You know, it could have been a lot worse," I replied in my defense, "I could have done something wild like gone out and bought a red sports car."
"You? Drive a sports car?" she said incredulously, "you don`t have the guts to drive a red, catch-me-if-you-can, sports car. You're too afraid of getting a ticket."
"Oh I am not," I contested.
"You won't even hang your Tweetie Bird air freshener from the rear view mirror", Anne replied sharply, "because you're just sure it will taunt the cops into giving you a ticket!"
"Well they can you know," I said in my defense, "they can write you a ticket for having your view obstructed."
"I watch COPS," I huffed. "Ok, maybe I wouldn't have bought a red sports car. It still could have been worse. I could have had a torrid affair!"
"You don't have the energy for an affair, torrid or tepid."
"Ha!" Anne let out, "You can't even stay up late enough to watch Bones on TV. And it's on at 9 o'clock! You didn‘t know what the program Tool Time was until it went into syndication and started airing in the evenings. You couldn‘t stay awake passed 9 o‘clock on a bet!"
"Could if I wanted to."
We sat in silence, the rest of the way home.
I enjoyed having my tattoo, and Anne got used to it after awhile, and it seemed that my mid life crisis was over. Then one day two years later I came home with a Celtic cross design that I thought was way cool.
"Check out this design for my next tattoo," I said to Anne.
I never knew a person could turn such a deep shade of purple....