Mother’s Hands

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc.

[Even after a long day at work, my mother’s hands worked tirelessly: chopping vegetables for dinner, stitching our clothes, whatever needed doing. I loved her hands and admired them. I wanted to be strong like her. But at the time, I couldn’t be. I would have, and gladly, if I weren’t so] afraid of what I had to do to gain that strength. I didn’t dare. I could only watch those hands cook and clean and mend. I could feel them on my own hands, the muscles in them rippling over my flesh, the veins pumping strong blood through them, the fingers gripping mine as if to say, “You are not enough to have these.”

But I knew I would have them one day.

Back then, all I could do was take the sharpest knife from the kitchen and creep into her room late at night or early in the morning. I could stand by her bedside and watch those hands of hers twitch as she dreamed, see them clutch the covers as if to crush them, paw at the air as if to strangle something. I could grip the handle of the knife, but I couldn’t bring it to her wrists. I couldn’t cut off those hands for myself.

One day, I would think. I wasn’t worthy of them then. I wouldn’t be able to handle them.

I had to grow first. And I did, watching those hands work all those years, never faltering even as they wrinkled and turned crooked. They never paused in their tasks, remaining strong and sure.

But my mother is no longer strong. She is weak and frail, and as unworthy of those hands as I was when I was young.

Tonight, I’ll take the knife from the kitchen again. But this time, I’ll use it.

I’m the worthy one now.

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