‘you have the softest hands,’ people often said as our hands shook. No calices, no scars, symmetrical nails. there’s a blister dead center on one of my palms, but that’s been there since birth. the other palm has a matching one too. maybe i did have girly hands. it gives the impression i hadn’t worked a day in my life. like i was like some rich dude’s kid.

i’ve been working since i was 5. off the books. I wasn’t exactly built with any brawn. In fact i was kinda chubby. i even had long hair, before long hair was cool. they didn’t call me a hipster back in those days. that had worse words. but i thought i needed the long hair to hide my ugly face. even now, if happen upon a mirror, i forget that’s what i look like sometimes. i have freckles across my face. body too. i could swear some of them actually looked like constellations i recognized. they made me look like a dalmation, i thought. then i met a really nice older lady at the welfare office with my mom. she was trying to figure out why they shortened the amount she usually got. we left with no answer because neither of us knew what to ask. the nice older lady said each freckle i had was where an angel kissed me. mom didn’t eat as much at dinner after that so there were plenty leftovers for me. my school uniform pants said size, ‘husky’, and i had soft hands.

fights were the worst. nobody ever wanted to fight me. i was really good at being unnoticed by other people. not just that i didn’t fit in, but that i was too strange to even be an outcast. the real castaways. i fought one of them once. it was strange. i saw red, and even foamed at the mouth. i don’t know why we fought. but i was sad soon after. he was my only friend. I hated getting into fights after that. i secretly didn’t want to repel any friends i didn’t have. hands, still soft.

today marked a big day. my hands are covered in splinters, lacerations, cactus thorns, and even shrapnel from an arrow. i didn’t know my hands could do the things they’ve done these last 3 weeks. i didn’t foam at the mouth, and i didn’t see red. i discovered i was a capable person. i won the little squabble. but i didn’t feel triumphant. I just felt sad. i tried to dance, but i just ended up slipping down the side of a mountain. i bought a bottle of coke at a taco truck after.

i’m not chubby anymore. i don’t have long hair or a scraggly beard anymore. I feed people that look like they can’t get on welfare. when i can, at least, but i should be on welfare too. i like star constellations now. my hands are battered, blistered and bloody, but they’re still soft.

i guess i’m always in the right place at the right time. not that i’m a lucky person or anything. I just can’t waste time thinking about how bad all the bad things that badly happen to me, are bad. i’d arrive at the same conclusion much later if i had. It took a while to learn that self-doubt serves no purpose. i thought it would protect me. nope. it kept me from being. gotta go job hunting tomorrow. my hands look like they’re ready to work.

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