“The lizard wakes up and finds he’s the last lizard alive.
His family and friends are all gone.
Those he didn’t like, those who picked on him in school are also gone.
The lizard is all alone. He misses his family and friends. Even his enemies.
It’s better being with your enemies than being alone. That’s what he thought.
Staring at the sunset, he thinks: What is the point in living, if I don’t have anyone to talk to?
But even that thought doesn’t mean anything
when you’re the last lizard.”
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s The Last Life in the Universe is a visually arresting movie about Kenji, a suicidal, obsessive-compulsive Japanese librarian living in Bangkok. During one of his suicide attempts, he meets a Thai girl named Noi, and the two come together to recover from their personal tragedies despite their limited vocabulary and clashing personalities.
It took three years and my second viewing of the movie to decide that I wanted a new tattoo. It’s funny because a tattoo was actually the last thing on my mind at the time, but when you encounter the perfect idea and the time feels right, the only way to get rid of that desire is to have the tattoo done. I was so moved by the story of the last lizard that I decided, on the spot, that I wanted to make this a part of me somehow.
The Last Lizard is a Japanese children’s book that Kenji was obsessed about, and I was struck by how the lizard’s tale managed to capture my recurring feelings of loneliness and isolation. I wanted the book’s cover art to be my tattoo.
I got my tattoo done by Dyani Lao, an independent tattoo artist who has done gorgeous work on my friend Anne. Don’t get Dyani if you’re the kind of person who likes tattoos of words, Chinese characters, or anything that doesn’t require artistic input. He’s a tattoo artist in the truest sense, and he will want to create a custom design, which was exactly what I wanted.
Even though I was decided on the cover art of The Last Lizard, I thought the black circle thing would look kind of ugly as a tattoo and wanted something with texture. This was his design, and I was in love the moment he showed it to me.
Dyani only does tattoos at his clients’ homes, which made me a bit hesitant about making him my artist. For one thing, I still live with my parents, and I didn’t really feel like asking them if some strange tattooed guy could come over and set up a temporary tattoo studio in our guest room. And for another, our house doesn’t exactly have all the things a tattoo artist would need to do the procedure safely. Then again, I have seen Dyani tattoo my friends, and he’s pretty strict about sanitation – he covers everything in plastic and he uses new needles. And when I learned that my parents will be out of the country one weekend in December, I finally saw my chance to get it done.
I decided to place the tattoo on my right calf, simply because I’m not ready for the commitment (and the annoying questions) that comes with an arm tattoo.
The new placement and size made me nervous about the pain, but I really didn’t have to worry. The mild stinging was nothing like the agonizing facial treatments I’ve experienced.
At 55 minutes, Dyani was already halfway done!
The areas near the inner calf were a bit more sensitive, and my leg would occasionally twitch as he worked on the design. I was relieved to discover that this didn’t seem to bother Dyani the least.
Two hours later, my tattoo was done, and it was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined! I am never getting tattoos done by anyone else but Dyani. In a few months I will get this colored, but I’m really happy with how it looks right now.Google+