Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cowboy Arms

Photo courtesy of

I have old-person arms. 

I spent two months repeatedly lifting my mom during her final illness, developing impressive biceps and ropy blue veins on the backs of my arms like a cowboy. Every time somebody wants my blood and struggles with my rolling, collapsing, needle-shy veins, I point out the huge, raised veins. They look, comment on the ones that run across my hand instead of lengthwise with the finger bones (I guess that’s weird), and stab me in a pink, fleshy-looking spot again. 

There are so many other old-age signs to worry about—Nana flab under my arms, teeth and crowns snapping off like limbs in a windstorm, my father’s under-eye bags—that veiny arms are minor. But I seldom see the underarm flab or the bags under my eyes. I notice those ropy arms every time I open a door or put my hands on a keyboard. I assumed they’d fade when I no longer lifted 135 pounds multiple times a day.

I assumed wrong.

It’s okay, though. I’ve realized that those veins are evidence that I pushed myself beyond my usual limits to take care of Mom. 

Evidence of love.

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