Unleashing the Writer: Doppelgänger Digits

Funny what we find while cleaning.

Seems as though I have let all my e-mail accounts fall into various levels of disarray. I finally have my work account relatively under control (I consider being able to see all my messages in one window without having to scroll as “under control”), so I’ve turned to trying to organize my primary personal account. While tackling my Drafts folder (a far easier task than either the Inbox or Sent folders), I found the following snippet of…I’m not really sure. I remember the inspiration for this piece: a waitress at a restaurant near my office. She honestly looked nothing like my mother minus her hands, which I couldn’t stop staring at as she cleared our dishes. The time stamp on the draft message this was saved in marks this as more than a year old. I’m not sure what I was going to do with this or even if I had planned to write more. It feels both finished and lacking.

Somehow, that seems…exactly right for this particular topic.

A stranger has my mother’s hands.

Rather, she has a convincing enough set of forgeries that they warranted two…four…six furtive glances as I watched her go about her tasks. They were almost flawless in their mimicry: wide, fleshy backs; short, thick digits that ended with a soft, rounded bluntness and tipped by impossibly short fingernails; cuticles worn ragged from nervous, obsessive picking. All that was missing was the galactic spray of color that always freckled my mother’s skin.

My mother’s touch was intense, heat almost constantly radiating off her skin in a corona of unseen shimmers. My mother was intense. Volcanic. Tempestuous. Emotive. Her colors were neither blush nor bashful, M’Lynn. Her life was a blend of bright, bold, vivid swirls.

Yellow was her favorite color.

Her hands were never part of my inheritance. My hands are perpetually cold—narrow, with long fingers tapering away from too-large knuckles and tendons and veins that undulate beneath my skin in serpentine patterns. My rings shift and spin in ways they never could on my mother’s fingers.

She always thought I wore too many rings.