I’m en route from Manhattan to Bondi via Zermatt, Melksham and Dubai. As ever, I’m taking commissions, writing features and working on ditties and projects along the way.
My hands look old today. My wicks are curled and that scar from a freezing November astroturf collision is brighter pink than usual. The skin is translucent, milky in areas, folding, like a crust on drying mud, as it rolls over chicken bone fingers and sinews.
But it’s strong: the pillowy muscles and meandering puffy veins push between tendons as they rise to meet the flow of force from the authoritative arm.
I mean to have manicures, I do. But a meal, a drink with friends, a run in cool rain on a clatteringly alive bridge across the East River wins, time and time again. It chips, anyway.
They’re the same hands that wrap around the yellow poles on the 328, gripping as we lurch on the bend to the Great Western Road. They’re the same hands that wobblingly held a mascara wand, aged 12, coating lashes too young to understand for whom the paint was directed. They’ve cooked mezze feasts – spreads of love and hungoverly high ambitions – and swung bats. They’ve gingerly pinched rolled notes and furiously attempted to unpick, bash and then wallop down locked doors.
They’ve tenderly stroked, lingered on that part of the neck where the softest down merges into the hairline and they’ve tightened, rubbed and naively wandered… and wondered. They’ve punctured rolling domes of fresh powder and pricked needles through resistant belly skin, sliding into the buttery flesh below.
They’ve been lifted from sweetly swinging motion – coated above by layers of wool and waxed cotton – and they’ve been taken into yours, and held.
A burn mark and two red knicks into the surface of the right. A pink gold serpent ring, a speck of dirt under a nail to the left. And those tiny, marching, riverine wrinkles.