Hands

I struggle now to remember what her hands were like when she was alive. I keep seeing the tops of her hands, soft and rubbery, wrinkled and elastic, and covered with makeup, as she lie in her casket. I touched them, the second time in my life that I touched a dead person, cold and heavy. Heavier than you would think a human hand would feel, and solid like a wooden animal. So many people caressed her hand that day, saying goodbye, that the makeup began to wear away and you could see the disease show through. The tops of her hands were bruised, black and plum, and I thought they would be aching if she wasn’t made of wood. She had become a sculpture of someone who was not my grandmother, but I held her hand anyway. After the funeral my mother brought home a portion of Nana’s jewelry collection. All the children sat around the kitchen table, in a house that no longer is ours, and selected pieces of metal to remember her by. I picked three rings, and I wear them every day. The metal that incased her fingers now incase mine, and it makes me feel connected to her, knowing that she once looked down, as I am doing now, and saw these stones shine up at her, glinting, on wiggling fingers that weren’t attached to wooden, bruised and makeup covered hands.

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