The man clinged to me. Held on like a homeless man seeking some sort of charity. I looked down. His hands, veiny and tense, were clawing at my leg. I wanted to kick away but I couldn’t. His digits were aware of their surroundings and in order for me to understand his struggle I had to connect with his hook. I thought of the four jointed body part and all the marvels that came with it. A ring to represent marriage. A hand to experience touch. Fingers to grip objects. And nails to be bitten nervously. My eyes panned away from the man and I had a vision.
Paralyzed. No feeling. The image brought pins and needles and wouldn’t withdraw from my head. The thought of being able to see the wonders of the world and have no idea what they felt like was overpowering. I imagined the injury. Clinging to the rock just like the man with no fixed address. A snap and the lights went out.
I wake up with the image of a bunch of squiggly lines and realize they are all intravenous tubes. Fuck. I would rather just die in peace. Nevertheless, they fight for a life that they are completely oblivious to. I see all this movement and try to lift my arm. Nothing. How about my legs? Absolutely numb. I scream, but my emotional state remains the same.
Back to reality. I lift the drifter to the blue man collars level. “Hands are so important that we even wear gloves to cover them”, he says. I laugh. The statement seems so blatantly obvious and redundant. Nevertheless, truth. I thought of the importance and significance of ones touch. The affects that climate has on our emotional state. Reliance on such a phenomenon.
I bought the man lunch and he purchased the small talk. And then we said our farewells. I knew he would go back to pan handling and I’d return to my steady day job. Empathy. The wish for a better tomorrow. For the both of us. We are on a good path. Our hands still have feeling.