Originally Posted by kennyt
I haven't watched the film in a while, but as it was a photo, it sort of rules out the fantasy thing. I wondered if it didn't mean his wife never died and he some how found her and she got him the ink so he'd stop the hunt for himself, again, I need to rewatch the film to really comment, but to the best of my recollection, there is no answer that fits the movie.....
I am not sure what photo you mean. Is it a polaroid that Teddy shows Leonard, or the one that Teddy (or maybe someone else) slips under his door? (This photo shows a smiling Leonard, covered with blood, pointing to his chest.)
There is an actual scene near the end showing Leonard together with his (alive) wife and the words "I did it." clearly written on his chest, which I think can only be interpreted as a fantasy scene.
Remember Teddy has no reason to lie, (what he says will be forgotten anyway) so he is probably telling the truth when he says that Leonard has already killed the true murderer. If there is such a photo, as you say, then perhaps Leonard at an earlier time merely wrote this on his chest instead of tatooing it permanently, then subsequently forgot about it? Do you remember where this photo you mention appears in the movie?