My henna tattoo covers most of the inside of my right forearm. I’m not sure exactly what the design is supposed to depict. OJ, my tattoo artist who hails from exotic Malate, put lots of swirls and dots, which he explained were supposed to be tribal designs. I like the tattoo of The Hooligan a lot better. She got a butterfly on the back of her right hand. She used it to attract the real butterflies in the butterfly “farm” on the other end of the Marinduque Expo at the Boac (pronounced “Bwak”) riverside. That’s where we got our tattoos.
The Expo was up for the entire Holy Week. About 50 tents stood on a bare field with plastic ropes crisscrossing five feet from the ground to secure the tents. I love these provincial expos because they present so many unique products of the Philippines. Such a boon to local economy. The Expo sold everything from the ubiquitous Moriones t-shirts and arrow root cookies (“uraro” in the vernacular) to everything that could be made around a butterfly theme (Marinduque, see, is the Philippines’ leading exporter of butterflies). The atmosphere was not exactly conducive to Holy Week soul searching – apart from the inevitable “Nobody, Nobody But You” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Got a Feeling”, David Pomeranz and Air Supply dominated the air waves.
There were three henna tattoo tents up. We went to the one where the artists looked like goons. While The Hooligan and I got inked, The Hub regaled the artists with anecdotes about FHM’s 10th anniversary party. He showed them shots he took of the ladies onstage at the party and pretty soon, all the tattoo artists in our tent were our friends.
Afterwards, The Hooligan spent time at the butterfly farm where she proceeded to terrorize the insects. At first, she was skittish about touching them but after 10 minutes, there was no problem at all. She would wait until a poor butterfly would land on the wall netting, carefully clamp the wings tight, and “set the butterfly free” by throwing it up as you would a paper plane. Pretty soon, all the butterflies were clutching the net way beyond The Hooligan’s reach. Then, The Hooligan contented herself by watching the butterflies closely and announcing, “Dad! Doing love, doing love!” whenever she caught a couple of butterflies in a moment of intimacy.
When we went home that night, most of my tattoo was smeared on The T-Rex’s diaper bottom. I’d forgotten I had a tat and carried The T-Rex. Should have gotten inked permanently.