My hands are mostly brown, with dusky knuckles and pale nails, and dark lines intersecting over peach-toned palms.
I once envied the evenly-colored, single-toned hands of Caucasian girls until a stranger told me that he loved his hands– because hands as brown as ours built wonders of the world, raised children who bettered the Earth, painted glorious works of art, and wrote the story of the dawning world.
Our hands, my hands– these hands– are part of that heritage. It is a legacy that shines with beauty.
There is a dot– a beauty-mark, Mom would say– on the index finger of my right hand, above the knuckle. It looks like it was left by the tip of a fine-tipped ballpoint pen. Wise men and women from all over the world– some related, some not– have told me it is the mark of a rolling stone. I’ve always craved a settled life, but I have lived in 32 homes during my 28 years of life. I loved every single doorway that welcomed me, but inevitably, destiny pushed me forward and out.
To me, the truth I found in this fable is a reminder to trust in whispered wisdoms.
The mark is a flaw in my skin, but my hands don’t mind– it tells a story of my journey with Fate. Sometimes we walk together and sometimes she leads, but these hands are safe in her care.
These hands — my hands — have been held by hundreds of people, shaken by tens of thousands. They were small for what seemed like a very long time, and Dad would share the heat of his large hands by holding mine in his. His wedding ring flipped around once and nicked the tip of my middle finger on my left hand. The tiny scar is visible today. I don’t mind. It reminds me of the warmth in tiny kindnesses.
These hands have held smaller hands, too– and learned how to let go just in time to witness first steps. When my baby sister babbled her first real words, I closed a sliding glass door on my own hand in shock. My pinky finger is a little crooked to this day, but it doesn’t mind. It reminds me that we’re all connected, and that we share our big moments. The blood washed away; the memories won’t. These hands have been stained many times by blood, and often by ink, and twice by henna. My first henna design celebrated the joy of being decorated, but the second ceremonially marked my blessing towards my sister’s new married life. The first stain faded, but the second stain settled into a wound and a bit of it still marks my hand today.
I am okay with the stain, it reminds me of the moment my big sister let go of these hands– my hands.
It was an anxious moment, a big one in a lifetime of medium-sized panic attacks. Those disheveled nerves are apparent in my nails, unpainted because it makes them easier to bite. Unpainted because paint is superfluous when they are already so adorned with wrinkles, stains, scars, and memories. Unpainted because, individually, each of my brothers has confessed the peace he finds in my simplicity.
To them, my modest fingertips are a reassurance that I am quietly capable, safe in my own keeping. To me, it is a reminder that my hands– these hands — can be trusted to safe-keep the memories of a lifetime.
“They look like big, good, strong hands, don’t they?”
Weekly Writing Challenge: The Devil is in the Details: Your challenge this week is to practice your powers of observation. Take any person, place, or event, and write three paragraphs describing your subject in great detail. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/writing-challenge-details/