Didn’t notice until I pressed flat on a table and wondered if that hand were mine.
Right index finger flirts into its taller, straight neighbor. What caused this? All my fingers hurt, especially when I pretend to play Bach or Scarlatti on my desk, a constant teen, not knowing a thing about real or phantom musical keyboards.
My hands are so tiny I wear only “women’s” gloves, which has given this queer cis male a slip-on drag pleasure. I hope anyone out there finds something they like that hugs like skin, even over mottled, wrinkled flesh.
When left hand gets lonely and squeezes, rubs the right to say we’re together, it seems like strangers being introduced. Strangers on a … no puns, though I’m tempted. When the two index fingers go side by side, it’s as if one twin went a bit berserk, not like dyeing half their hair indigo or running away with someone else’s thumb, but striding quick in opposite directions when I need them most.
The X-ray told the new, solid doctor what I already knew: arthritis. It’s what my mother had when I was just growing leg hair, and she took to bed. After a year she got up, suddenly. Never happened. In that time she got me to do all sorts of challenging homemaker things.
I can handle pain, even enjoy it in arranged situations, but this is about the shape of me, how, when you look at your hands, you see yourself.
For so long I’ve embraced my cooking, typing, stroking hands and took comfort in their ordinary concert. Now I’m bent — what I always was.
Why feel surprise? We have been tossed sketched and painted bouquets of gnarled fingers in caves, temples, museums. Placid hands brushed into a future by ruined ones. Realistic hands, sentimental or, in Alice Neel’s case, warped into crucial, intimate disclosure, as much as eyes, lips, shadows.
I’m rubbing my right one as I type, greeting my stranger again.
Is disease my future? Yes, as I work and think. Here’s where I wanted to talk about all the artists, writers and lovers who have listened to joint alarms, but strove to move pens to paper, paint to canvas, bodies into others. Yes, the words sound trite, but some certain pain survives.
Fill in the proper creator names. My hands are talking, in a way, signing. Left is giving right, who was primarily top, permission to bottom, or at least be versatile. (“Stiff” has many meanings.) Right’s wondering who will hook up. The keyboard mattress, flat and passive, doesn’t really care, but who can tell, because plastic buttons don’t talk back.
Actually, they do, but my new, different hands and I can’t hear. Left rubs right once more, trying to connect. Right sighs, wondering if a breakup is in order. There’s no shrink or advice columnist to correct fingers into a domestic parallel.
“He’s bent, I’m not.”
Handshake divorce? Best of luck. Yet, with the way age works, left will get bent, too.