Hand maidens

Manjula Padmanabhan | Updated on November 01, 2019

One morning, at break of day...

Right Hand (RH): (loud shriek) Aaaaaaargh! I’m gone! I’m dead!

Left Hand (LH): WhatWhatWhat?

RH: My thumb! It’s hurting. Like...

SERIOUSLY. Aaaaargh!! Without a functioning thumb I can’t think! Can’t move! My life as a hand is OVER!!

LH: Yikes!

RH: “Yikes”? THAT’s all you can say?

LH: I’m just the non-dominant hand, you know. I don’t usually say much.

RH: Huh! Things are clearly going to have to change around here! For starters, you’re going to have to do some of the things I do

LH: Umm... but... are your SURE? I mean, I can SEE your thumb. Looks okay to me, you know?

RH: But it hurts! I can’t flex it sideways (tries to) — ouch! — see? You felt that too, didn’t you?

LH: Yes, yes — we ALL felt it — but (touching the right hand, feeling around the base of the thumb) I can’t see what the matter is. No swelling, no redness. It doesn’t hurt when I prod it.

RH: I KNOWWWWW! All I know is that I HURT! And there’s nothing that can be done about it! And now we’re all gonna dieeeeee!

LH: Ufff. Such drama. No one we ever heard of died of a pain in the thumb. Seriously.

RH: Omigosh, omigosh — and here I was assuming that I’d get total and complete sympathy from you — my sister-hand! My only soulmate in all this world! (flops over, sobbing) INSTEAD? Cold, hard logic! Oh cruel, cruel Fate! To be partnered with such a cold and unresponsive non-dominant!

LH: Hush! Let’s take stock: Okay so there’s definitely some kind of nasty pain. But it can’t be a break. Or else you wouldn’t be able to move the thumb. It might be a minor fracture. But we haven’t had any accidents of late. Unless you went off and had one all by yourself while I was asleep...

RH: Being sarcastic now, are we? Just for that, I’m going to insist that YOU do the tooth brushing — yes! And also the face washing! Come on — come on — it’s 8:30. Time to get a move on!

LH: (grumbling) You’re such a BORE. I bet you can do it...

RH: Of course I CAN...but do I want to? No! Please stop grumbling. Here, I’ll hold the brush, you squeeze the toothpaste and... now YOU take the brush...

LH: Yes, yes — I know what to do, for goodness’ sake! It’s just that I... (wielding the brush clumsily) honestly don’t LIKE to be the dominant! I’m not GOOD at this!

RH: (soothingly) All right, all right. Let’s just try it for now. Until I feel better. Okay?

LH: (calmer) Okay. Promise we’ll do our best to heal you?

RH: Yep. You’re done, by the way. Here, I’ll put away the brush.

LH: Yaaay! You’re feeling better?

RH: No. Just gotta keep going...

LH: One for all and all for one!

RH: Ouch.

LH: Awww! Poor baby! (hugs RH)

RH: Thanks. Love ya.

LH: Me too.

RH: Ouch.

Manjula Padmanabhan, author and artist, writes of her life in the fictional town of Elsewhere, US, in this weekly column

Published on October 31, 2019

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