Torquere Press, Willa Okati

Willa Okati Inks A Love Story In “Tattoo You”

My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story. ― Johnny Depp

Tattoo You is a story about two men, Jacob Lee and Donathan who have been in a loving relationship for three years. Their love is illustrated well by Ms. Okati. It is clear that both men would do anything for the other. Except one. Jacob Lee has a terrible fear of needles. While Donathan is covered in tattoos, each one representing an important life event, Jacob Lee has been afraid to get even one.

Jacob Lee has decided that for Donathan’s 29th birthday, he will get his first tattoo as a surprise gift to his lover. He contacts the tattoo parlor that Donathan has used and sets up an appointment for a tour, not yet knowing what his tattoo should be.

The couple lives in an old house that has been converted into apartments. In order to get a discount on their rent, they agree to clean out the basement, which contains decades of belongings left behind by previous tenants.

The evening after he makes the phone call to the tattoo parlor, Jacob Lee and Donathan spend some time working on the basement project. They come across an old ledger and sketchbook from the 1860s. Donathan loves old things like this. While he is busy looking at the ledger, Jacob Lee is looking at the sketchbook. He finds it is full of images of two male lovers. In the drawings, he finds what he wants to put on his body as his first tattoo.

One of the sketches was the initials of the two men contained in the heart of a claddagh ring. Jacob Lee decides to have his and Donathans initials put into the heart and have it tattooed over his own heart. It will tell the story of his and Donathan;s love for one another.

That night in bed, Jacob Lee asks Donathan to tell him the story of the storm cloud tattooed on his hip. Ms. Okati uses this opportunity to explain the story of their chance meeting. Afterward, Jacob Lee can’t keep his secret any longer. Donathan decides to accompany Jacob Lee to the tattoo parlor.

It seems that the manager of the tattoo parlor has heard all about Jacob Lee from Donathan. She has also been trying to talk Donathan, who is quite an accomplished artist, into coming on staff as an apprentice. Donathan helps ready the supplies for Jacob Lee’s first foray into body art, including shaving Jacob Lee’s chest.

We learn in the epilogue that Donathan does accept the position at the tattoo parlor. As he nears the end of his training, he is ready to do his first solo tattoo; on Jacob Lee.

Ms. Okati beautifully shows us how deeply these two men love one another. I would have liked more of a story. This was meant to be a short, and it has all the necessary parts, but I found it lacking. Recommended as a sweet, but short read.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Tattoo You here:

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