Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Colors of Tired Fingers

My 5 year old sister's hands are stained bright blue from the pastel she clutches. Green streaks adorn her wrists and her cuticles are red from smearing the oily shades. My own nails are a leafy green at the tips from stripping pumpkin vines to make curry this morning and the pads of my fingers smart and swell from the nicking stab of the needle I grasped, clumsily, embroidering a shirt with white seeds. My mother's hands moved far more deftly, stitching succinctly, and no throbbing stab wounds emerged on her careful, callused digits. Her nails are short, cut off by her husband this afternoon, except for the left thumb which she uses to cut thread.

We sit on the floor of the kitchen with the wind faintly breezing through the cracks in the bamboo walls, as a daughter slurps on melon, which drips down her face and neck and arms. Its sticky orange residue clings to her tawny skin and almost seems to glow in the fractured gloaming light. Her uncle lies by the fire, his sooty fingers leaving a trail of smudge as he reads his translated Bible, occasionally tends to the coals. His face is so close to the pages, I can't imagine how he reads them, but every now and then he smiles and looks to us, happily around.

Outside, I hear my Father, lazily fixing his scooter, with the grime and oil of engine sinking into his etched palms. The starter isn't starting, the gasline may be broken, but between his thumbs and eyes and skills he'll soon have it purring away. He was working silently as I arrived in the village, nonplussed by the gargantuan truck which bore me and its sweaty palmed owner whose knuckles had turned white as we clambered along dirt roads, up and over the many and rugged mountains. He just stood up slowly and welcomed me, smiling, offering out his hand for me to greet and said 'Da Bleu.'

1 comment:

suriya said...

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