atrophy

I’m sitting outside on my porch, staring at the callus on my palm, underneath where my wedding band used to be. What began as a purely anatomical exploration grew as I pondered its metaphysical implications. Is it a scar? It feels like a scar. Is it a reminder? Will it go away? Do I want it to? Is there a way to write that last sentence that doesn’t end in a preposition? Do I really fucking care? I think I do.

I take a drag off a cigarette. I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t smoke. It is something to do, though, something that affects my life. How many things do I have in my direct control that affect my life? How many of those can I hold between two fingers?

For all the pleasure two fingers might afford, there is little meaning in most of what can be held in between them. So, I take another drag.

I catch myself squinting into the dead space in front of me. My mouth is slightly ajar and I hold this pose and think of how unattractive I must look. How many times during the day do I look like this and not realize? As that girl who looks like the one from that TV show approaches looking for an empty seat in the café, does she see me in this primate pose and recoil? Me, unaware? I make a note to myself and set an alarm on my iPhone as a reminder. Every 15 minutes should be good.

I look up from my hand again and stare around. This song is the perfect soundtrack right now. Everyone is in synch to my movie. My earbuds fuel the mundane, elevating the activity around me to a socio-political statement. There’s a thin slice of human existence within the ecosystem of the street below my house. Car Wash (DIY), Liquor Store, Tack and Feed. There may be more.

And there it is again, the callus. I can’t tell what color it is. Not yellow, not orange, not pink. It was created by constant pressure applied over 8 and one half years. It is a reverse alchemy that has turned gold into flesh; hardened by repetition and anatomy.

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