To the Girl without Hands,

I want to keep in touch with someone who understands what it is not to be able to touch. Do you know what I'm saying? I'm starting this correspondence in the hopes that at the very least, now I can compare notes with another person who walks through the ruins of the world, sees all that is wrong but is helpless to change it. I've noticed that if you have a hand in anything nowadays, you leave harsh little fingerprints. That way, when what you tried to do to save the world, or maybe just a moment, does not go precisely as planned, your fingerprints are forensic evidence for someone's lawyer. If you don't mind me asking, is that why you don't have hands anymore? Did someone get tired of the well-meaning way you would break everything you touched? Or did you just decide you no longer wanted a part in the world that mistakes empathy for perjury? I can't say I would be able to blame you. However, at the moments where I won't be condemned for touching, I feel as if I can't.

The most flawless, beautiful things have become the most untouchable for me. I'll see spring dawning on the weary world, hold a gurgling, laughing child, hear a heart-wrenching melody of love and loss, or be held by someone who I think I might love. I know what I should feel, which is, at the very least, something, but I am detached from the moment; I cannot hold onto it. However, there is a prickling sensation just where my wrists end, like an echo of what I would feel it, if only I could reach a little farther. It's like a phantom limb, this feeling, and I've always imagined that it's how it must be to have no hands. Maybe you can tell me whether or not it's true. If the answer is something I want to know, that is. If you don't want to talk, or can't hold a pen, or just can't reach far enough to bridge the spaces between us, I understand. But still, I would like to know how you deal with being untouchable, because I think you may know exactly how I feel.

The Girl without Feelings

A meditation inspired by the great Margaret Atwood's poem.