I have large hands, long fingers. A therapist commented on it once, while I told him a sad story. Resting a palm to my face while I explained something deep, dark and painful, I was startled when the man said, “I’m sorry, I missed that. Your hands are so big…it just surprised me. You covered your whole face with one hand.” Backtracking in embarrassment, he tried to recall what we’d been talking about.
It’s okay, though. I’m not shy about them. I was born with a heap of work to do and a strong body to bear it. Also, I have large feet and wide shoulders. No matter how thin I get, I still have broad shoulders that prohibit me from wearing a “small” shirt. Draping around my middle, my tops always fit snug along my shoulder blades and clavicles.
Thinking about strange things like large hands and broad shoulders lately, I may be in a sort of mid-life re-evaluation. I’m not quite middle-aged yet, but circumstances make me feel older than my years; I’ve felt like putting my life in order for the long haul, so maybe I can get things right.
I’m not focused on the thoughts and troubles of a spouse anymore, and so I’m discovering a long forgotten country in myself. This experience reminds me of a woman I met in a drawing class at Portland Community College when I was twenty. She was in her fifties and told the class her youngest child had just left for college. Taking the course for self-improvement, she became the best student. I asked her why she decided on drawing and she replied, “After all these years, I’m just wondering what’s left inside.”
When I became a mother, I expected to end up like the middle-aged woman in drawing class. Contemplative and at peace I thought I’d be when my quiet life became quieter as my nest emptied. But the strangest thing happened before I got there…my nest emptied part-time and too early. My ex takes the children to his apartment most weekends, and I have piles of time on these big hands to be still and think about what’s left inside.
Blessed I am with the best friends I could have hoped for, and it seems I am more social now than I’ve been since high school. I love it. But there’s all this time at night that I used to use for my partner. Without another, I think, feel, and plan.
I worry about my hands getting arthritis, and becoming gnarled like a tree branch. They are pretty, but I can see the wear in the knuckles and scars on fingertips. Demanding I am on everything, especially my body, and it bravely keeps up with the relentlessness of this mind; especially these hands.
Maybe I’ll get a manicure this weekend.