People say you can see into a person’s soul by looking into his eyes, but I think you’d do just as well to look at his hands.

I started memorizing my dad’s hands when I was pretty little. I’m not sure why, but I remember doing it. I’ve always had this weird system of memory-keeping that involves taking snapshots in my mind. I’d think, “Look at the little white moons under his nails. Remember them.” “Look at the nicks and scrapes on his knuckles. Remember them.” “Look at the way he uses his fingernail to crease his dollar bill. Remember it.” “Look at the way his fingers flutter on the steering wheel. Remember it.”

My dad’s hands built and comforted and fixed and cooked and turned pages and folded things and played catch and drew pictures and rattled candy before popping it into his mouth and planted and banged and whistled and spread birdseed and straightened and painted and wrote and cleaned and patted and loved. They were not perfect, but were caring and strong and capable and gentle.

And they are remembered.


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