This is part one of a writing exercise about body mapping. Stay tuned for part two.
My fingers are a gateway to the world. Typers of words, feelers of skin, players of keys, graspers of all that is in reach. They are long and neither slender or fat, but finger-sized. They have hair between the first and second knuckles, between where they connect to my hand and where they bend. The hair has been hit by lasers, plucked by tweezers, shaved by blades, but still it grows back. Less and less with hormones and lasers and frustration, but still it grows.
The thumb on my right hand is larger than that on my left. My gym teacher slammed it in a door when I was in third or fourth grade. It was an accident, and he apologized, but still told me to stop crying when I went to the nurse’s office. I needed stitches under the nail, one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had.
When I hold my fingers up straight, palm out, the middle and ring fingers pop apart, as if in a permanent Vulcan greeting: Live long and prosper, forever. It’s kind of silly, and makes me incredibly self conscious. When I wave, I make sure to do so with fingers spread. When I hold my hand out, I either cup or spread my fingers to hide this physical quirk. It’s significantly more pronounced on my left hand, presumably because I broke those fingers flipping off my bike sophomore year of college. Ouch.