My favorite body parts are my hands. They stem from bony wrists, and twist into a tangle of flourishing fingers and angular pinkies. Nothing about them indicates how much I weigh. Even the weird callouses called Russell’s Sign once observed on my right knuckles have worked their way into the skin, and disappeared.
My fingers are delicate. I have learned to hold them so they lie gracefully across the keyboard and any other inanimate object. On those long drives to see my Sean, they would stretch and entwine like roots around the steering wheel, making them white. I would let the other hand branch out the window and billow in the excited dark air.
I have done amazing stuff with my hands. They have knotted while writing essays and sunken into holiday cookie dough. They have pointed the way for lost people. They have weeded through fake eyelashes late at night to unearth natural eyes. They have given life to conversation. They have felt a lot of things.
At one point they were invasive tools. Molded into clever probes, they gagged me, extracting everything that was inside. Grim and mechanical, they would then reassemble into rusty shackles when I would tell Sean I’d stop eating that way. But when I would fall asleep, they’d lie there, jagged and accusingly, my index fingers always enclosed so their sharp ends were pointing at me.
There finally came a time when so much dissection pushed me, bit by bit, to the edge, and I tumbled over in broken pieces. My twiggy arms reached for the extending razors of grass. Lingering desperation seeped through my fingertips; any hope I had left was sparking and flashing throughout the broken circuits of my thumbprints. I was ready to let go.
But something held onto these parts of me. And that was Sean’s hand.