Monday, August 16, 2004

40:40 vision 

My sister came in from the back yard, holding the little finger of one hand between the thumb and index fingers of the other.

"Splinter," she said, when I asked what had happened. "Would you get some tweezers? I think I'm going to need help with this."

I fetched the tweezers, washed and dried them. Then I looked at the pad of her little finger, mottled pink from her attempts to squeeze out the splinter. And sure enough, there it was: a fine, brown line under the surface of her skin. Running the edge of the tweezers across her skin, I met no resistance. I couldn't feel the splinter. I leaned in to get a better look. The little line of splinter blurred.

"Where are my reading glasses?" I looked around my kitchen.

"Oh, I have mine." She left the room, and returned with a slim turquoise tube while I was rummaging in my purse for the pair I keep there.

"What strength?"

"Plus one."

"Mine, too," I said, finally retrieving my own burgundy case.

We returned to the task, both wearing our slender, travel-sized reading glasses. Over the top of my glasses, I glanced at her face, and the auburn-highlighted hair that, if not colored, would be similar to my own salt-and-pepper braid.

"We're in our forties." She looked up; the glasses slid slightly down her nose. We smiled at each other.

I looked back down at her hand, saw the lines on her palm, the whorls of her fingerprints. The splinter looked crisp and clear. I got it out on my first attempt.