If there were one thing he could change about his tattoo, Sam knew exactly what it would be.
He’d gotten it at 16, the earliest he could without having a parent sign. Like that would have ever happened. Not his fruit-and-nutcake mom smacking him, quite literally, with her bible. For certain not his anonymous father, unknown and never missed. He knew better than to even try to get his tattoo until he could do it on his own.
The irony was so deep and rich it could have been mined for profit, that he’d had to wait until he could do that on his own, too. A perfect fit for what it said, his tattoo. His guardian angel, head bowed in shame because of what he was, queer, homo, fag. It was a fitting mark for a boy-man unable to understand why he was different. And why, fucking hell why that mattered so much.
A sin? Then why hadn’t his crazy mom beat his brother, too, since he sinned all the time and bragged about it? He just sinned with girls, that was the only difference Sam could see. Yeah, Jack even came home once with a condom caught in his zipper, drunk as the hell his mom threatened Sam with, and she just smothered a laugh and turned away. But let Sam look at a boy for a half-second too long, just long enough for the nutcase to notice, and out would come the bible-club.
Now that he had a word to call himself — gay — one that wasn’t filled with loathing, and a man, a bear of a man, who loved him, who stood for him and knelt for him just the same, if he got the tattoo now, that angel would have been staring folks in the eye, claiming his right to exist.
He’d let it be, though, a memorial to his past and to all the others:
Billy Jack Gaither
Billy Clayton …
(the list goes on)
[photo credit unknown. Information sought.]