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My hands are women. They are housekeepers, hairdressers, babysitters, copy editors, and typists. My Right Hand does all the hard work; she’s tireless, strong and organized. She can listen to every whisper, she can see in the dark, she takes initiative. My Left Hand does not do anything. She looks blind and deaf, I do not trust her at all. I don’t care about her, I don’t talk to her. She only wakes up sometimes when the Right Hand is shouting and offers her some help in a clumsy manner. Afterwards she hibernates again. Always absent.
Dislocation of the right shoulder, says the doctor whilst looking at my X-rays at the screen. Complete immobility of the right hand for three weeks. He does not know that my Left Hand is always sleeping. I don’t say much and return back home. I want to drink some water. My Right Hand, despite being severely injured, is shouting at my Left Hand, Wake up! Give her some water! Her voice is braking.
My Left Hand is slow and clumsy, my Right Hand gets angry, but she is in pain so she doesn’t move. She can’t anyway. I have no other choice other than training my Left Hand. I need to teach her how to make the bed, bathe me, cook simple dishes, feed me, brush my teeth, wash my clothes, pick up the phone, type my novels. In the beginning she gets tired easily, she drops things, she breaks my dishes, she’s typing nonsense. After a while she gets used to it, she holds the fork properly and feeds me, washes my Right Hand, sometimes she even strokes it. In the evenings she stays awake. She falls asleep at dawn, but sleeps lightly and immediately wakes up to take care of us. She is becoming almost like my Right Hand, she can almost listen to every whisper, she can almost see in the dark.
Nonetheless, she seems to be lost in thoughts and abstracted lately. I am afraid she might get tired and change her attitude all of a sudden. What if she stops showing solidarity, self-denial, and self-sacrifice? What if she adopts a more radical stance? She might start ignoring the people in need, the different and the unproductive ones. She might become arrogant and start going to the Left Hand assemblies. She might demand overtime payment and additional employment allowance. What if she starts complaining about the injustice and negligence that she suffered all these years? Some might say, It’s never too late! You should look after yourself!
I wake up and look at my Left Hand in a new light. I am afraid that something has changed. She silently picks up the brush and brushes my hair, like every morning. Only in a hurry this time and a little carelessly. When she is brushing my teeth though she’s moving abruptly. My gums are bleeding. Calm down, I tell her. You are hurting me! It’s a firm-bristle toothbrush, she answers, you should get the medium one!… I pretend to agree even though I know my toothbrush is soft. I am afraid of her now and I am not speaking. My Right Hand is doing the same.