When we were a little younger we were obsessed with hands. I say we because then it was my sister Lizard and I, and much of the things we obsessed about, we obsessed about together. When you’re a teen the idea of hands, of touch, contact, is maddeningly alluring. To touch and be touched, that is the yearning. Well that hasn’t changed and I imagine it doesn’t, actually, ever.

Still then it was at the forefront of our minds and needs, so we talked and studied hands. Since then they have become more of a utilitarian appendage and less a mystical source of connection with another. But I am in a sharing mood today. So: a tour of my hands.

On my left wrist, – a watch my grandmother gave me a few months ago. “Perfectly good watch…just that I got myself another one with the numbers bigger: See?” She showed me her replacement and handed me this one. I refused adamantly – never owned a watch and didn’t care to either, but she insisted and now I am attached. It helps me keep track of the time. Wouldn’t you know.

There is a small scar on my knuckle – from a rock climbing trip years ago in Joshua Tree National Park. We went there with a group of kids to bond before the disastrous summer of ’02 where I sold books door-to-door in Baltimore in 100 degree humid misery. Lost at least 15 lbs that summer, came home sun-scorched wrinkly, pained from the utter humiliation of it all, and aching from a tremendous loss.

Another scar from landing palm out on a nail as a child. Ouch.

Dabs of gold paint on fingers and under fingernails from latest craft project: taking IKEA furniture and making it antique art. Pen and marker too from drawing with Munchkin V.

Some dirt under fingernails from digging in the mulch at playground with said Munchkin and Mr. Fatty Pants.

Yesterday T at the Art Center where husband D plays and teaches guitar, and where I hope to show my art one of these days, asked me why both D and I wear our wedding rings on our middle fingers. HA! What a symbolically laden image. But in all honesty it’s because we’ve both grown even skinnier since we got married. The rings fall off our ring fingers now.

Curious fact: I don’t really have fingerprints. Somewhere I read about a woman who had to get her fingerprints done and couldn’t because she had abused her hands so much, washing, cleaning, and so on, that they had just worn off. Micro-erosion. I found out about my “fine ridges” when I went to get clearance to be able to access the JSC. I joked and told the officers trying to get a good image that I should stop washing dishes so much. Then turned serious and said, “No, actually I’m a spy”. I don’t know if they appreciated that so much.

The wrinkles on my knuckles are white, which means hands are tanned. And dry. And weathered. Just as they should be.

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