The white noise of the heater is punctuated by the dog’s claw’s clicking across the wood floor. Fingers move rapidly across the keyboard, pause, then start again in a burst.
The screen illuminates my face, a tired face with sun damage. I hunch forward, shoulders almost over the wrists. My brow furrows when the fingers rest, and relaxes when they type again. The unforgiving light emphasizes the age of my hands. I stretch the digits to examine the wrinkles. “Whose hands are these,” I wonder.
I remember pinching and stretching the loose skin on my grandmother’s hands, a topography of her life. How could something so papery and fine feel so soft? The hands that took care of her children, that lifted too many drinks to her mouth, that got caught in the mixer on Thanksgiving once, turning the mashed potatoes pink. Did her hands find the first lump of the cancer that took her from us ten years later?
I tease the skin on the back of my hand into ridges and crevasses. These hands that have dug in the sand, that have turned so many pages, that have scraped the stubble on my husband’s face, that have bathed my child. I am writing their story now. In the harsh light of the screen, in the quiet after everyone else is asleep.