I will confess to a whimsical side. To oversized fur hunting caps, worn Caulfield-style, as I dance through crooked streets. In a crooked world. On crooked feet.
That isn’t for the sake of imagery. I remember laying in bed with my shoes attached together so as to fix my gait. Apparently my toes pointed in when they should point out. The braces kept me awake many nights as it attempted to fix my walk.
My hands these days are a bit hard. A bit rough. Unclean. A bit much. I take two ibuprofen to numb the pain. They pick up heavy objects and kids just the same. A certain kindness has settled into these mitts. I would call them old, but it might force someone to feel obligated to remind me of my age.
Well, these hands have battled in their days. They have fought against the world and haven’t been held enough. These hands they have built and destroyed. They’ve held life and know joy. They’ve broken bones and seen some dark, dark, places.
My hands softened a bit upon holding my firstborns. There is a lightness to their touch now. Ol’ meat gloves, cradling two five pound babies, realizing their calling was to hold and raise, not to destroy.
For twenty-five, these hands have been through a lot. They content themselves to rest upon a keyboard, gently typing out my thoughts. There are times I refuse to think, contenting myself to let my hands tell their story. They have felt the world and know well enough.
My turn, tiny little digits.
“He is talking to his hands!” whispers the audience. He is also creating fake audiences in his mind. This isn’t a blog post, it’s a play. A monologue. A gentle aside, where I reveal under these tattoos, I got a whole lotta heart.
Holden broke the barrier for a lot of us kids who would grow up and talk through writing. Introverts, our lot, tapping away or penning away into the night.
If you aren’t down with Holden, I ask you not to sit with us.
These hands have held many books. From growing up on Velveteen Rabbit to the RL Stine spooks that kept me up at night.
Maybe I didn’t have a mental disorder, maybe the book about the woman whose scarf kept her head and body together still gives me goosebumps!
Stories To Keep You Up At Night. Aptly named.
I ran through Harry Potter and Eragon. Let us not forget The Chronicles of Prydain or His Dark Materials.
I ran amuck with Harry. Rode Dragons with Eragon. Taran and I found ourselves. Lyra taught me how to fend for myself.
I breathed in the words from the page, begging them to take me to their special place. Underdogs, the lot of them. Fighting for a better world, with bigger responsibilities placed upon them than are just. But, fighting for a better world and against all odds.
In my young adulthood, I moved through A Million Little Pieces. When I found out he lied, fabricated, embellished, I giggled out a “Who hasn’t?”
You can fact check these words. All my stories bear witness, as I developed an ever so slight fear of Oprah.
These stories aren’t larger than life. I have had good friends die. I have lived my life with foolish lack of trepidation. Skipping through puddles, not worried about the cold.
Blowing lines in bathrooms and growing in a dirty world.
Finding fatherhood and fighting for a better world. It always seems against all odds.
I fantasize my own story. I have always fancied myself a comeback kid. Like Darren Shan, or the Baudelaires, facing tragedy with love and light.
And a little bit of fight.
I look in the mirror. Even for twenty-five, I look old. I see where the old lines will form, wondering when the grey I feel will show.
Some days, I worry I may never see my whimsical side again. The one that rattles off nonsense with such delight. Who contents to rhyme instead of reason and ignores the seasons, wearing shorts in winter.
The Caulfield-style cap wearing son of a gun.
Then again, I remember these hands. They have lived and loved. Felt the love of a woman’s touch. Held little hands and dried out on the pages of a good book.
I remember series running through my mind. The characters I grew to love. The journeys they made. No, the journeys we made. Through Wrinkles in Time and Wardrobes, I chased fantasy down Rabbit Holes.
I stretch through my mind for other books I have read. So many books, so little time.
Then again, I remind myself, I’m only twenty-five.