To Be Made Whole

Last night, while boiling water, I burned the palm of my hand.

Not to a crisp, blessedly. A bit of online research told me it was minor. I spent the evening running cold water on my right hand, eating lentil soup with my left, and watching my soggy, red palm. Hand TV, I called it.

The skin was reorganizing itself, the actual burned patch turned out to be the size and curve of a peanut shell.

I wrapped the little wound in dry gauze, ham-handedly brushed my teeth, and went to bed for an early-bird morning flight.

I slept. My hand got to work mending itself. I woke up to a tender, sweetly pink blister on my palm.

The word heal is a descendant of the Old English meaning to make whole. Silently, the hand makes itself whole.

I opened the door of my ride to the airport and placed my backpack on the seat. I had three flights. I put my bag up in the overhead compartment, took it down, up, down, up down.

All these asks of my hand. And it did them.

We speak so casually of our body betraying us and letting us down. But do we ever speak of our body’s loyalty to us? It is loyal. Often silently. In how it breathes and blinks for us, sweats and sees for us. It is not perfect. It is human. After all, it is us.

I know my peanut shaped blister will scar; it will look different than before. And as my feet take me through four airports, I wonder if to be made whole isn’t to be what we once were, but to be made into something we have not yet known.

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