Grease clings to your knuckles and I watch you try to scrape it away as you walk to the counter. I wonder sometimes if you think I’m repulsed by it – the physical presence of hard-work as tangible as the paycheck you hand over to me for deposit. You’ve never seemed more out of place than when you’re in this building, almost as if the walls of this institution aren’t big enough to contain your shoulders and they fill to burst when you gently ask how my family is doing. You are kind. Do you know how rarely I get to experience tenderness on the daily? You see, people are not good-natured when it comes to their money. Yet you…you always leave me feeling brighter. Stronger. Smarter.
I know very little about you but here’s what I do know: you thrive off fresh air and grain dust, your cheekbones are ruddy from daily dances in the sun, and your fingers are scarred when you reach for the pen. You scrape your boots off outside and take your hat off when you come through the door. Your clothes carry in the smells of diesel and sweet feed. However, your hands are always where I find my eyes falling to. Maybe that’s where you start to second guess yourself? Because I’m always watching them. Repulsion is the furthest thing from what I feel when your hands are in my work-space. I have studied them time and time again and I tell you this:
Your hands remind me of my father’s and my grandfather’s. They are the hands of a man who puts food on the table. Hands which know the value of sun-up to sun-down. Hands who’ve rocked grandbabies and spent hours fixing machinery, yet carry a softness so few probably get to witness.
Those grease stained knuckles have always left me feeling honored – honored because men like you so rarely exist in this world anymore yet, with those grease stained knuckles, you choose to hand people nothing but compassion.
Copyright © 2016 Pearl Bayou