Monday, May 24, 2010


            Of the things in my life I remember most, I don’t know, maybe it’s strange….but I remember hands. Hands say so much about a person, I think, and when I remember those I love and of those I have loved so much and lost, it is their hands I recall first.
            I remember how my mother quietly painted her nails at night when I was a girl, and how I loved the smooth colors and the paleness and the fragility of her fingers as she waved them in front of her mouth to blow them dry. Sometimes I close my eyes and I can hear the click-click-click of the little ball inside the polish bottle as she shook it up, and I am there again in the quiet of the night with her and the missing of her softens enough to finally succumb to sleep.
            My grandmother has the palest wrists and hands. When I was a girl, she always wore the same gold watch and gold bangles and charm bracelets that would jingle together as she patted my left shoulder…It was Afternoon Delight on the radio and there I was, sandwiched between two of the greatest loves of my life in the front seat of that big ‘ole maroon Lincoln. I remember her hands and the shape of them against my smooth tan young summer skin. Even now, at 41, I still crave them. And now, as I face the tougher things in my life, in my selfishness, I still need them to jingle and pat some of this pain away from me….even as she struggles against the things that 80 years of living and loving brings. I am in need of her and her healing hands.
             I also think of Jerry’s hands…tan and lanky and strong and his own. I secretly adored him and his hands as he showed me his newfangled digital watch,  But those hands were mine too. I coveted his hands because they belonged to the angel that came to my mother and my sister and I when despair had hung its hat by our door once again. No, I will never forget his hands…how they healed us, or the joy and the laughter he brought to us. They are the hands I so sorely miss. Even after more than 27 years has gone by, sometimes it feels like yesterday he waved goodbye to me in the morning light.
            And my father’s hands, they were so large and so calloused and rough…they enveloped mine twofold, but I knew in my heart it wouldn't last. I’d say the story of his life was written on his hands. He lived under the hoods of cars and trucks doing only what he knew he could do best. His hands were his life and they were large enough and strong enough to carry a hunk of greasy machinery, but not large enough or capable enough to hold on to me. And he and I were not something his roughness could fix. And that’s ok.
          But these…these are the hands that now hold my heart. These are the hands that guard me and hold me and offer to me, the world within them. The hands of my dear one, who walks this life with me. The one who can so melt me with the mere touch of them. The one who can hold time in his hands and so often repairs the brokenness found in the world and in the silver and gold roundness of long forgotten antique time. He has even healed some of the brokenness in me.
 There are stories there, in your hands………there are stories there.

1 comment:

  1. A very touching piece (no pun intended). I recently photographed the hands of some amazing Bedouin women; there is something about a person's hands that's reassuring, I think.


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