Views from the Valley Literary Magazine - Page 7

"Skin"

I absentmindedly reached across the void for it. My lean fingers individually curling in preparation to grab a hold. My heart pulsating to the slow easy breaths I take. The air around me radiating warmth from my body. My hand pushing against gravity with no effort. It slices through the air feeling the soft dry breeze push past every finger separately. My hand reaches out and is empty for only seconds before it feels the warmth and moisture from your hand. They make contact. A silent collision between the both of us. The sweat from the creases of your palm dews over my skin leaving heat. Your hand engulfs mine. It covers it with a firm grasp leaving me unable to move my fingers. Every move of our palms against each other forces the thick rough calluses to rub against my soft skin. The friction our palms have creates an energy between us. I imagine all the things you built with your strong hands. The 10 plus years you spent In carpentry building and restoring. The small structure of a home, for the family of 5 just barely scraping by. The irony of you holding a hammer to nail into place the project you are making. I imagine all the people your hands have touched. Your mother in a warm embrace. A disciple in a moment of laughter as you both reach for a high five. A small child that’s fallen as you were the first one there to offer them a hand back up from the ground. A sick women dying who begged you to simply reach down and caress the leper skin covering her body. I imagine the things you held with your hands. The fish the boy gave you as you put the power of God through it and the feeling of breaking it and breaking it only for it to keep producing from nothing. The wine you poured so knowingly into a cup announcing it as the blood running through your own body. Your hand moves and I feel the one spot that’s soft to the touch. It’s a smooth spot in the center of your palm. It’s slightly raised and follows a jagged pattern. For the first time I glance my eyes down to see it. I push the ends of our hands away to see the heart of your hand. The gaping hole where the nail was smashed into you skin. The scar healed over but still greatly evident. The skin that covered it there was thinner and lighter. The nail ripped through any callus or hard skin that might have once remained there. My pointer finger reaching out to softly graze the surface there. Your eyes bore into me as I bore mine in to the wound that once lived. You let me look on for a while. Easy streams of tears came to me. The hand in whole was warm, strong, and love. But that wound, the energy of the wound held passion, peace, and sacrifice so large that my own hands couldn’t imagine barring the same scar. I let go of the hand. I turned to look at him already looking at me. With full assertion I raise my own hand. Wherever I may be. In my room in prayer. In church singing. In school speaking joyful news. I’ll raise my hands because you raised yours. While you raised yours, they were nailed into place.

-Mary Claire McNabb