Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Balance of Life


“What would happen, you know?” I looked at my hands.

“Vatche! Don’t say such things!” My aunt called back at me from across the table.

“Seriously, just think about it. I am nothing without these hands.”

“You are still you, Vatche.” Clara sipped some more of her tea and took a colossal bite out of her cookie. We sat around our dinning table drinking tea again. I stared at my hands and noticed how much less of a person I would be without them.

“No, I wouldn’t be still me. There would be no more writing, drawing, or playing the piano for me. There would be no waving ‘hi’ or ‘goodbye’. I would never be able to hold something, touch a familiar face, or put my hand on a friend’s shoulder. I would be lost.”

“Well, think about all those people who don’t have hands or legs. How do they live?” She made one eyebrow skyrocket up her forehead.

I thought in silence.

“Hmm?” She bit into another cookie and the crunching noises echoed in the kitchen, where our table was.

“Well, they have that whole mechanical arm thing nowadays. I could never live like that though. Those people are never the same again.”

“I guess you’re right. Something that traumatic would definitely change a person, not even physically but mentally.” She slammed her hand on the glass table and sent vibrations onto my side. “What made you start thinking this way, anyway?”

“Well,” I drank my green tea and calmed my nerves after a stressful day of school, “it all started in English class today. We were asked to write a journal about what is the most important thing in the world to us and what would happen to us if we lost it. I, at first, wrote my mind.”

“That’s an obvious,” my brother walked into the kitchen, “you lose your mind, you’re done for.”

“Yeah, I thought that at first, but then I snuck a peek at my friend’s paper. He wrote that if he lost any body part, he would never be the same again.” I stared at my brother, who searched for a water bottle inside the refrigerator.

“I guess that’s true, too.” He snatched the water bottle from the cold, white cave of the refrigerator and slammed the door, which turned off the lights inside.

“So, that’s why I started thinking about this and it’ also why I am now asking you,” I pointed to Clara, “about what you thought about losing a body part.”

Clara sat drinking her tea in silence and looked at the scenic view outside the windows of the kitchen. Outside was where she could see the endless mountains and trees, but also cars and cities. Outside there were white clouds that crossed over the baby blue sky and the dark smog of pollution from the factories. Flowers bloomed. Skyscrapers built. Things were lost; things were gained.

“There are,” she paused for a moment to collect her thoughts, “many atrocities that could happen. Losing a hand, a pet, or a loved one, would only be the beginning though. To answer your question, Vatche,” she squinted her eyes and examined me, “I would be greatly affected if I lost my hands, but anybody would.”

My brother left and went upstairs to his room. I watched Clara as she pointed her aged fingers at me. Her hands were wrinkled and old, but experienced. Cuts and calluses did not matter to her. They were hands and they were beautiful in their own way.

“Now, Vatche, let me ask you a question.”

“Sure,” I got out of my chair and threw my mug inside the sink.

“What do you think is the most important thing to me?” She smiled.

“Umm, I don’t know.” I turned on the water and began rinsing the cup.

“It’s an easy answer.”

“What?”

“You and your brother,” she kissed me on the cheek.

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