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Life, death, tattoos and the apartment

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By Kelly Dolejsi

When I’m old, I’m going to have sagging, misshapen, ugly tattoos.

People love to remind me of this.  A miserable buffalo, a rotten pear, a little king whose beautiful ermine coat needs ironing.

Typically, it’s someone who doesn’t know me well and with whom I’ve never shared any philosophy about aging, death or even body art, who tells me this.

Although I was only 18 years old when I got my first tattoo, I realized that eventually I would get old.

I have long hoped that I would not die before my first wrinkle appeared. I’m in no rush, but I want to get old. In fact, I even know what it will be like.

Since fourth grade or so, I’ve been able to picture it exactly.

In my vision, I’m in a long, one-room apartment, tightly situated between bookshelves that run the length the walls on either side of me.

I’m writing at a large wooden desk, writing in the near-darkness with a good-sized, open, unscreened window behind me. I’m on an upper floor and I hear the sounds of a city far below me, a city I don’t take part in anymore, one that makes me feel both angry and less alone. I assume it’s New York.


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