Friday, March 25, 2011

Skin

by Jan


Grandpa Timmons couldn't see well through the filmy cataracts forming over his eyes.

"Look," he would say, holding out a skinny tan arm with white blotches and scars.

"I'm a sun worshiper in Florida every winter when it gets cold up here, and these spots don't even show."

I was young enough then that he didn't expect a response. I don't think he liked children. Perhaps I didn't trust him.

. . .

As my tall father began to lose his short battle with lung and brain cancer, we could see purple veins through his thin papery skin. As he died I could finally touch his back and tell him I loved him. Tearfully.

. . .

My mother's skin felt moist and warm after her hysterectomy. She had a lot of skin as she grew older.

She hadn't wanted to linger and tried to tear out the breathing tube. I honored that wish, and spoke with the doctors. We had the doctors increase the morphine.

When she soon became silent, I could touch her cooling skin. I lay down near her on the bed. Her skin gradually grew cold and her breathing stopped.

But I didn't cry until later. Did I tell her I loved her?

. . .

"A routine checkup, Jan?", asked the female dermatologist.

I sat on the paper-covered table wearing a paper "gown" open at the back.

"Might have another problem spot", I said.

"Oh yes," she agreed, even before beginning to examine my body for skin cancer. Once one has had melanoma, skin becomes a liability.

Skin damaged by too much sun as a child. Skin sensitive to touch by lack of boundaries as a child. A body and mind only now learning to say no.

By Jan

Written at a Handcrafted Words Online Workshop

4 comments:

  1. Short but very powerful piece, Jan. One element - skin - seen through so many lenses - over time. Thanks for sharing this amazing offering.

    Marcia

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  2. What a lovely piece; how evocative. How, why, and when we chose boundaries throughout our lives always interests me.
    I hope the writer carries the strand of expressing love through to the end of the piece and that she looks in the mirror and hugs herself.
    Thanks, Jan
    Elizabeth

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  3. Very powerful and evokes millions of images and memories - but in a good way. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Jan there is so much inbetween the lines. Very strong words. Peace, Sharon

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