My left hand has a problem. It's rapidly aging. Making it hard to type, steer a car, or crochet. Crochet? God, I am getting older. You see, the arthritis and whatever disease afflicting the one hand is commandeering it to an early grave.

Sometimes I wake up at night to find my left hand painstakingly writing its own obituary in sloppy, shaking script. "Here lies Marie's hand, dead at nineteen. She left behind her right hand man and five digits: four fingers, one thumb."

I first noticed its ugly progression with a single blue vein protruding just below my second knuckle. Soon the veins spidered bluish and greenish along the back of my hand.

My grandmother's hands I remember. Knotted and gnarled, they were everything my hands were not. Those hands cut rose stems and knitted itching yet well-fitting sweaters every year.

Those hands had loved.

I suppose half of me somehow inherited her hand, her left, and I love her for it. Someday the hand will pass on and be sliced by steel. All that's left, a nub of young flesh. 

Lem Parzyk
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle