What will happen when you die? You’ll get a lot of hate. When people see you, they like tattoos. People hate them. It’s that simple.”
“What’s wrong with a God?” I asked. “Why can’t people just get on with their lives and be good just like everyone else?”
She shrugged. “There are many religions out there. They all have some sort of dogma or idea of what it’s all about. The more you read about Christianity or Buddhism, you’ll see there’s a big difference between them and what religion we’re talking about here.
“People from my country have been killed for having tattoos when they lived peacefully there, and they were just doing as they pleased back home. I don’t know what the hell you guys are talking about. It’s just that everybody’s life is different, the way you live your life affects how everybody lives their lives, so it’s different if you’re a Muslim or a Christian or a Christian of another country. You have to find a balance.
“Some people say ‘Oh, it was the Muslims who wanted me dead, or the Christians, or the Buddhists.’ I say, ‘No, no. It was the religion.’ It has nothing to do with who died. What’s wrong with a God? People just want to be killed, and religion comes first. It’s more important that a religion takes precedence than anything else.”
I left feeling somewhat more enlightened. Was my life truly changed by the interview?
“I can see that,” I said.
“But you have to get out at this stage, so I’ll tell you what – when you get back you need to talk to a priest. Get some lessons on why you shouldn’t get tattoos to protect yourself. In a few months, maybe by June, you should know where I stand.”
I did not agree to the date that she had asked me to speak to her about, just in case it turned out that I might be gay, which I am. I didn’t understand her reasons yet. It certainly seemed as though I would like to make peace between the two of us, but if I was going to be killed for being gay, I didn’t think I should be in prison alongside two guys who had taken liberties with a gay man and were going to have to do a little self-help in order to get over their feelings.
But if someone called the police and said I’d gone