Thursday, October 06, 2011


"Your hands remind me of my father," she says.

Sometimes I don't recognize my hands. Wrinkled from age.Veins more prominent now. Calluses. The training and all.

"He worked on a boat," she says. "A deckhand. Tending the rigs. Oil mostly. Sometimes gas. Only the hard jobs for deckhands. He would work a month on and a month off. Straight. No calls while he was gone."

"You only saw your father every other month?" I ask.

"Yes. But it was always a good month. He took care of us. Worked like that for twenty seven years. We were happy."

I know a couple of guys who work on rigs. Oil and gas. I know a couple of former deckhands, too. All tough, wizened old bastards. But I never heard of any local boats that are gone more than a week at a time. Certainly not a month at a time. And not for a quarter of a century.

"He always had such strong hands."

I'm sure she and her family were happy. I bet another family was, too. I don't tell her, though. She knows. Even if she doesn't tell me. Or admit it to herself. She knows where he was. And his hands.

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