Lately, I’ve developed a habit of putting lotion my hands every night before I go to sleep.
After washing my face and brushing my teeth, I pump a few squirts from the plastic container on the bathroom counter. I turn and go, walking into the bedroom as I rub it in. I stand there in the doorway, working the white stuff.
Over my knuckles. Up to my cuticles. Pressure. Fast then slow.
I stare through Trent as I complete this ritual. He’s on the bed reading a book or piddling on the laptop. My eyes are on on him — still from the doorway — but my mind is somewhere else.
I am my mother’s daughter.
My mother has had severe eczema all her life. For as long as I can remember, her hands have been cracked and swollen, red and rashed. She ages down her arms. Youth fades through her fingers — the fingers of a woman twice her age with a life of hard labor behind her.
I see her in the doorway — cheeks sucked inward in exertion, lips pursed, eyes far away — working lotion into her hands. Same movements. Same pattern. Every night.
I miss her when I realize what I’m doing. I feel close to her when I look down at my hands and see it — “This is familiar,” I think.
“This is healing,” I think.
“This is what she’s been teaching me all along,” I think — that healing is work and pressure and consistency. It’s putting balm in wounds you can’t control — sometimes every night.
Listening to: Kings of Convenience, “Surprise Ice”