On Sunday, Father's Day, I got a tattoo of Walt Whitman on my arm. As I was walking to the place in Greenpoint where I had an appointment to get it done, I realized what day it was and saw an unintended beautiful symbolism in getting this tattoo on this particular date. This man is my spiritual father.
Later that night, I was at the bodega by my house, looking in the ice cream freezer, trying to decide between which Ben and Jerry's flavor I wanted, none of them looking particularly good. There was a particular flavor I wanted though I couldn't think of it, and maybe it never even actually existed, but all of these flavors looked so boring, so not the flavor I was hungering for. A drugged out and very tatted up man came into the bodega and asked me for a dollar to get on the subway. He had just been in a fight and had a freshly bruised and cut eye, a black eye forming. He looked beat up and looked like he might beat me up as well. I told him I'd give him a dollar. As I was getting out my wallet, he noticed my tattoo and complimented me on it, asked me where I got it done. I told him where. He, perhaps also aware of the day and it making sense to him to get a tattoo of an older man on this day, asked me if it was my father. No, I told him, it's Walt Whitman. Who is that, he asked. A writer I really like, I told him. I gave him the dollar and ended up getting Peach Cobbler flavor.
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