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May the Fourth Be With You

art widow Oct 15, 2019

Originally Published on 5/5/19

May the fourth be with you. Star Wars Day. Y’all, Jason was a yuuuuuuuge Star Wars fan. A giant nerdy kid in a man’s body. I love Star Wars too, but he loved it more. He was the Han to my Leia, the Empire to my Rebel. That’s why this day was the day I knew I wanted to get my tattoo.

We were dating and living in separate houses when The Force Awakens came out. I remember the online system to buy tickets at Alamo Drafthouse went down the day tickets went on pre-sale. We wanted to see it there because they do cool opening night parties and have themed food. It’s a whole experience. Remember, this was the first Star Wars movie released since the prequels, so it was a BIG DEAL among nerds everywhere. Pre-sale for tickets was like 2 months ahead of the movie release date, and we definitely wanted to see it on opening night. We had to. So the ticketing system was down and all the nerds in Dallas were PISSED. I know this, because I’m on Twitter and Twitter is the dungeon of the internet where people go to air their complaints to anyone who will listen. That, and YouTube comments.

My kid wasn’t with me that night, but Jason’s were with him and something about his car was broken so all he had was his motorcycle – not ideal for carrying kids around. We were on the phone both trying to buy tickets online and I said, “Why don’t I just drive to the theatre and buy them in person?” Jason wasn’t the type of person to ask people to do things for him. On any other occasion, he would have said, “Nahh, I’ll get it tomorrow.” But this was a big deal to him, and after a pause he said, “…would you do that?” I’m pretty sure this is the moment he knew he was going to marry me.

So I drove to the theatre and bought our tickets with all the extras you get when you buy opening night tickets – there was a glass cup and a special book I think. He always loved the extra stuff like that. He was always so excited about new nerd movies coming out and never they guy that was mad about a certain storyline or whether or not something was “canon”. He genuinely enjoyed the experience, which I loved because that’s how I am with movies too.

May the Fourth fell on a Saturday this year, 11 months to the day after Jason suddenly died. It was also the weekend of Fan Expo Dallas, which is a fan convention.

A convention, or “con”, is a place where you can buy artwork and props from pop culture movies, see people dressed up as their favorite characters – called “cosplay” – and meet celebrities who play your favorite characters. There are tons of people and things to see, panels you can listen to and activities to try. It’s a good time if you or your kids are into super heroes, Star Wars, video games, Disney, etc. And the people are usually so nice. If there’s a convention near you, I’d suggest going with your family at least once. It’s super family-friendly. This year was my son’s first time to go and he loved it.

They also usually have a place set up to get tattoos, with tattoo artists who are licensed to tattoo certain characters. So you may see where this is going now.

May the Fourth is the day I wanted to get my tattoo, and a fan convention was the perfect place, so I did research to find a tattoo artist who could do what I wanted. I settled on Kevin Tattrie, @tattrietattoo on Insta, and reached out to him. He’s based in Nashville, but he’s part of a group of tattoo artists who travel to conventions like this. It seems like a pretty cool gig.

I knew from early on that I wanted to get a tattoo to immortalize Jason’s memory. In the weeks after he died, I was absolutely terrified that I would forget our relationship. Not completely forget, but forget the nuances and the fun parts. The things that made us “us”. The daily things that made us smile and the fact that we were legit so perfect for each other. I wanted a tattoo to help me remember as I move forward, but I was in no state to make a permanent decision like that early on.

And here’s the other thing, I didn’t want something blatant. I’m not the type to get a heart with his name in a banner across it on my arm. If that’s you, cool. It’s just not me or my style. I wanted a tattoo that would be my personal reminder of our relationship, but in a subtle way that also translated as a piece of art to anyone who saw it. Birth date/death date was out. His name was out. Hearts in general were out. I briefly considered “I love you/I know”, but then decided against it because it was too obvious.

Eventually I narrowed it down to 2 options – one that was extremely subtle and all black and then the one I eventually settled on – a simplified outline of the Millennium Falcon with a watercolor space effect splashed through it. It’s Star Wars mixed with art. It’s him mixed with me.

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