Sunday, September 26, 2010

treacherous skin circles

October 12, 1987

My hands are very dry. It has to do with the season. in junior high school, the palms of my hands would peel and looked like some sort of disease, The spiral curvatures of the peels would flake and I would attempt to chew the dead skin off, pressing flat the palm of my hand against my chin and nose trying to reach my teeth towards the treacherous skin circles, snake-like, weaving of skin, peeling every fall so that the new pink skin underneath had a chance to breathe.

Ianthe wore her purple feetsie pajamas for most of the morning. She played legos, putting babies to bed, we read the Gingerbread man and the Bird Identification book though she grew bored after looking at fifty pages of birds.

When she dressed, we played airplane, acrobatics on the couch, Woa, Waooo!

We made macaroni and cheese for lunch. Ianthe ate a few chocolate chips, taking each one for a run through the house before popping it in her mouth. She watched me strain and restrain again the newly made orange juice to fill her bottle with. She sat on the counter watching, anticipating, but when I finished, I put it into the refrigerator. "Later Ianthe, later, for your nap," to no avail, she flung herself to the floor crying.

While she was still eating her lunch I started putting on my shoes. "Shoes, Sock," Ianthe said. "No, not now Ianthe, eat." I saw Harrison's bus. Ianthe grabbed the curtain of the window possessively, "My, No, Mine!"

She gave me a big snotty, macaroni and cheese kiss and hug before I left. Cris kissed me and I touched his chest hairs lightly, stroking with my right hand. "Make spinach lasagna with cheddar cheese for supper tonight, okay?"

Once I told my grandmother she made the best lasagna in the world. Weeks later, I told my mother the same thing but she called me on it.


I understand the dry skin now. I wash my hands. A lot. Like, all the time. I seriously use three hand towels in the kitchen when making a meal. I touch the counter. I wash. I pour the oil. I wash. I cut the food. I wash.

I can bet that my hands peeled in the fall in junior high school because I spent the majority of my days either perched in a tree or playing on the red concrete floor in the basement, constructing vast Lego villages for the bus babies. Always the same: hospitals, hotels, homes. Roads drawn with chalk.

The trees were the best. I loved the fruit trees the most. In my neighborhood there were several great climbing trees with fruit to eat. Sour cherries and wonderful apples at the Kleppers. The Sexton's had a plum tree - delicious. In the backyard we had 2 apple trees - not great for climbing but the unripened fruit was good if you threw it at the ground to bruise it well - and a rhubarb bush.

I was disappointed to have to "grow up" and stop climbing trees. How very disappointing. Once I stopped climbing trees, my palms stopped shedding, but I still have dried hands in the fall through spring.

I won't say I wish I were dead this time. I will say that being a kid was pretty awesome when I was alone in a tree watching the other kids play.

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