"Vicky" ink on paper; 9 inches by 12 inches; $125
I have one tattoo. I got it to remember a time when I went camping with my yet-to-be husband, Matt Cole, and a bunch of friends from college. We were at a campsite next to a lake. In the middle of the lake, on a perfectly round island, stood a beautiful tree. The branches rose up around a straight trunk creating a circle of leaves. After a pretty good night of drinking and hanging out all night long, Matt, took off all of his clothes and jumped in the lake and swam to that little island across the way. Once there he stood on the island and he called, “Vicky, come join me!”
At this point we had been dating for a while and I knew I had loved him pretty much from the beginning. So, I took off all my clothes and hopped in the water and started swimming. I got half way to the island and realized that it was a lot further away than it looked. Half-way there I was a little tired and I was a little drunk too, and I thought, “Oh man, I don’t know if I am going to make it to the island, maybe I should swim back.”
But that was just as far. I had already come this far and so I thought, “I need to just roll over and float for a minute and then maybe I will feel better and keep swimming.” So, I rolled over on my back and I laid in the water. You know, when you put your ears in the water how quiet it is and how interesting the sensation is? I had the water over my ears and I was looking up and you could see all the stars, it was a really clear night and it was beautiful. I saw four shooting stars. I was like, “Whoa, this is amazing!” I remember lying there thinking the world was so beautiful and we take it for granted and I don’t pay enough attention to that ‘so beautiful’ sensation.
I was lying in the water maybe a little too long and I heard Matt Cole call out to me, “Vicky, come to me.” I turned and I sat up out of the water and Matt Cole said, “Are you coming? Do you need me to come get you?” I said, “No, I will come to you, Baby.” And I rolled over and I finished swimming.
When I got to the island we embraced and I really realized in that moment how much I loved Matt Cole and how much he felt like my Rock and my World and my Being. He felt like he was part of me and I felt like I was part of the world, in a little globe of my own. We went to this tree on the little island, hugged and it was amazing. We swam back together. It was so beautiful. The next day when we woke up I said, “I want to go and get a tattoo.” I drew the tree and the island and that was the design. It is probably the only tattoo I will have in my whole life.
Debra Wuliger, figurative artist working with color, texture and pattern to celebrate life.
Image silhouetted with story. Ready for hanging.