Hands

by Sophie Lefens

Johnny’s fingers fell off today. That’s the third time this week. His father says this is getting tiresome, please drive yourself to the hospital. Earlier that week, on Monday, Johnny’s fingers dropped to the ground at the grocery store while he was smelling pears. His mother said oh dear and put his index and pinky finger into the plastic bag with the pears, and they drove home. On Wednesday night, Johnny decided to paint his room white. While he was painting, both middle fingers and a thumb fell into the gallon of paint. Red swirled in the can and half the walls were pink. On Thursday morning Johnny’s grandmother called him to say if he didn’t take care of this finger business he might have to go to the large building where the sad boys live. Feeling angry and also sad, Johnny went to the turtle pond.  At the turtle pond Johnny placed two turtles on their backs to watch them dance. Later, he gently put them back into the water. He called Jen, his girlfriend, and told her about the turtles. Jen said every time you say something dumb I’m going to cut off my hair.

Now it’s Saturday and Johnny is driving himself to the hospital like his dad told him to. He parks in the lot where he can watch the emergency vehicles drive up. From his window he watches an old man being pulled out of an ambulance. The man is convulsing. His hands are slapping at the air as the paramedics try to restrain him. The man’s wife is beside him crying and shaking quietly, one hand holding her stomach and the other covering her mouth. Johnny sits still. He will sit in his car for another hour, his fingers Ziplocked in the cup holder, waiting for the hospital to close. He knows now that he’d rather not leave the car, that he doesn’t want his fingers sewed back together, that he’d rather keep his hands to himself.