His palms are slippery. He turns his right hand over, barely recognizing the mottled exterior, the soft-skinned canvas of his lifelines loosely draped around the bones and swollen joints. Like ghosts in his mind, a false duet of memories and the present, he can still make out the muscles of his youth as he twitches his thumb. Days were when his calloused hands put in time at the lumber mill, returning home with nubby, dirt encrusted nails as evidence, scrapes and bruises the “war wounds” of their service.
A bar of Lava soap, wrapped in the dirty imprint of this or the other hand from those days, still convalesced on the shelf in the mudroom. He thinks about tossing it once in awhile. Recollections of the texture, the solace of that gritty lather under soothing warm water, prevent further consideration. Comforts of the past. He splays his fingers and turns the decrepit looking thing away from his view, wafting air along the sweaty underside as best he can. He dares not loose his grip on the railing yet.