The hands I have today hold many memories. Starting out soft and unscarred and growing with me into a storybook, marred with small scars and veins and lines and hangnails. They have been burned and cut and bitten and scratched and bruised, but even with all that my hands grow with me and adapt to hold the stories I create by using them in my everyday life.
My hands started out small, clutching at fingers, blankies, and stuffed animals. As I grew, so did my hands. They began to hold baby bottles and building blocks, then cups and spoons and Barbie’s. That quickly changed to ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and ‘Disney Princess’ coloring books, and very simple and silly kiddie pianos, a 64 pack of glitter crayons were a must. Nowadays there are no toys for these hands to play with, only keyboards or pencils or books or papers.
These hands of mine are useful, I always seem to be using them to catch me when I fall. They are what I toss out in an attempt to soften the impact of the ground, causing stinging little scratches. This habit began when I began to walk, I would toddle around in a diaper trusting my hands to catch me. As I grew it was me falling off bikes and tripping while running as quickly as I could to win small races that required my hands to hit the asphalt. While the circumstances have changed, I still find myself throwing my hands out as I flail around trying to keep my balance on stairs and sidewalks alike.
I guess my hands have been through a lot. A few doors slammed with my fingers still wrapped around the doorframes, slamming them into bookshelves and walls and desks that appear desperate for contact with my hands. Small and big slices from cutting up vegetables and fruits with too large knives, other scars from peeling potatoes and carrots. Paper seems to be a big offender, notebooks, reading books, and my work all leave itchy little scratches. Having taken up baking makes my hands very vulnerable to burns, hot cookie sheets and cake pans leave bubbling blisters monthly.
My hands were very curious, they were used to climb monkey bars and slides and trees. Now they are usually tucked into sweater sleeves in an attempt to armor myself from the cold and from the scary world and its anxiety inducing inhabitants, or typing away at a keyboard from a phone or a laptop. Despite this I still use my hands to flip crisp book pages and mix up the batters and icings to both my favorite, and new and exciting recipes.
Today my hands have not been smudged by pen or lead, I remember the times they came home stained by paints and markers. There is no need for such things these days, silly activities like that no longer belong at school. The fun smudges on my hands come from flour, sugar, butter, and anything else baking related.
As I complete daily activities I occasionally glance at my hands and notice creepy veins snaking up the backs of my hands, the lines that form my knuckles and palms and all the creases that are my skin. Long fingers stretch from my palms, two crooked middle fingers upsetting the otherwise straight digits. At the end of my ten fingers are ten pink nails, kept short due to the bad habit of biting them I can’t seem to shake off.
My hands are still my hands but they have changed with me, they hold my childhood and preteen memories and continue to form memories every day. The scars, bruises, scratches, bumps, wrinkles, veins, crooked fingers, and bitten down nails might not be pretty but they form my hands, and I hold a new respect for the hands I hope to grow old with.