she sees my Anna.

“Her hands are beautiful. An amazing piece of art. If I could write a book about her hands, I would. But no one would read it. You may have heard it said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But does it go vice-versa? Will a thousand words repaint the picture? I do not know if it can ever be true, but if it is I know that it cannot be just any thousand words. They must be perfect. And without those perfect arrangement of words, the picture is not painted.

I am an artist. But I am not an artist with words. And I am not an artist of reality. I can paint what is beautiful in my mind. But I cannot replicate the beauty of someone else. I cannot replicate what blows my mind.

And if you have not seen those hands, then how can you realize their beauty?

They called her Tubby-tub-tub. Fat little fingers, pale like her American sun. They never darkened, never tanned in her new home. Once, twice, three times, again and again she gave them a chance. Many times she moved. Many times, they grew and slimmed, grew and slimmed, till they became as they are. Long and slender. And pale as the LED that lights her world.

Clean. Dirty. Clean in their dirtiness. Dirty in their cleanliness. Pale like the soap of their scent, dark from the dust she cannot shake. Dust of her home. Karimojong dust. Dust that leaps from the untamed ground, hungry for the sweat on her skin, that swirls about her in a dust devil, the torment of the plains. Dust from the land that seeps into her, affecting her very soul, becoming one with her spirit. And though she washes, it will not leave. It has become hers.

The fingers move like the rain. Quickly, quickly, tiny pin pricks, then faster and harder, devouring the pages she turns, the pen she holds, the keys of the laptop she click-clicks away. clickety-clack clickety-clack. Such a sound cannot suit those hands. Poised over the keyboard like a dancer, first waiting for the music to start their song and then gracefully playing out the words in the notes.

Graceful. They are graceful. Even in their clickety-clacking dustiness, there is nothing that could undermine the elegant gracefulness of those hands. Those beautiful hands. Even with the correct thousand words, who could replicate such beauty?”

Maria Tricarico




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