I keep dreaming about hands. Most of the time they’re pretty mundane: my mom’s hands working on some intricate beadwork, my professor’s hands as she writes illegibly on the blackboard, my sister’s hands as she catches a ball. In one dream, I held hands with strangers and we walked around a broken city. In another, I grabbed a friend’s hand and she set me on fire. There was one where I wore a hand around my neck. There were several with heavy hands wrapped around my neck, pushing down, crushing. I’d wake up with the feeling still there. In my dreams hands cover my eyes, fingers work down my throat, nails claw at my skin.
This doesn’t really have a point; I’ve just been wondering what they mean. I’ve always liked people’s hands, but I’ve never really thought about them. I had a best friend who would always know when I needed my hand held. I’d grab her wrist and her fingers would snake their way around mine. One class fieldtrip had us hiking up a mountain with a path too narrow for two people to walk side by side. Her hand was in mine the whole way, though. We had natural signals. If one of us had to stop to grab something from our bag, we’d wait until one of the other’s hands was free to resume walking. If there was a particularly steep incline, one of us would go up first and reach out whichever hand did not touch the mud to pull up the other. If it was completely impossible to walk side by side, the person in front would leave both hands behind her back so the other could still hold both. That’s what remains in my memory: my hands extended behind my back, her reaching out to take them, both of us laughing as we walked the rocky path by a stream. I miss her.
When I think of hands, I think of this girl I thought I loved. Mostly I think it was her addends I loved and not the sum. I loved her voice when she spoke, even more so when she sang. Every time I thought I’d fallen out of love with her, she’d sing and I’d fall all over again. More than anything, I loved how tactile she was. She was so much taller than me, and her hugs always felt like warm blankets and my favorite pillow. She hugged me everyday. She’d tell me she loved me every time. The thing I loved most about her, though, was her hands. She hated them, and I loved them. They were big, never sweaty. They were rough, calloused. I’d call them well-loved and she’d tell me to stop. Wherever we went, no matter what we were doing, she would hold my hand. And I loved how it felt, how it made me feel. She told me once that she loved my hands, and I was too shocked to tell her that I loved hers. I miss her, but mostly I miss her hands.
College is a lonely place: I don’t know anyone well enough to reach out and make an attempt. There are people who hate being touched. There are people with sweaty hands. There are people who hate me. I don’t know how to classify people, so I never try. Maybe that’s why I dream about hands all the time. Maybe it’s a kind of withdrawal. I don’t know. It’s 2AM and there is too much caffeine in my system and I want to hold someone’s hand.