These Lines

by Sydney Bergeron

Papers filled with failures were strewn across the bed. The girl let her eyes follow the dancing strips of sun at the window. She’d been sitting here searching for something— something clever to hide beneath the words, a thought worth thinking. Hands drawn up to her face, she took notice of the small lines that riddled her palms. These lines, so tenderly placed, stretched across hands that were once new. Lines from the first days branch out for innocence, laughter without price, a promise for the future. They’d seen the first book she’d ever held, the arrival of a partner in crime, and messes in the kitchen—chocolate-smeared cheeks and batter rain. Lines etched there not just for uncontained happiness and the best of yesterdays, but for broken promises, loss and sacrifice, for sleepless nights.

Thin markings of pink and pale apricot bend and adapt to the journey, claiming their place as permanent. They’d seen so much and yet so little. Just above faint green and purpled veins, other lines seemed to shy from the surface. Lines for tomorrow? Or were they for another “someday”? The girl smiled and watched her hands for a moment longer. Had someone years ago done the same, looked at these lines this way? Surely they’d seen traces of the kind of long day the world has already forgotten, signs of true dedication, a life lived with passion. They had to have found something worth more. Catching the light in fragile fingers, time marked right there on her palms.