Posts Tagged ‘burn’

Stephanie, you have worked long and hard for all of us and Inspiration Monday X prompts this week are wonderful as usual,  no exception. I can’t thank you enough for the time you spend doing this!  Here is my submisssion this week.

A Man With No Fingerprints

 Joe moved carefully and slowly to the window and managed to stiffly turn his body to the right to get a better view.  He watched his almost four year old daughter Josie skip up the walkway while her mom, his wife, Ann, was following close behind.

 “Daddy, Daddy, I got my pwints today!”

“Good for you, sweetie! Let me see them.”

“My pwints are spesh-al. The nice man tole me that”.

“Yes they are. No one else has fingerprints like yours. Your fingers have special curved lines. Quick, let me kiss those pretty fingers!”

Josie giggled and climbed into her daddy’s lap, her favorite place to be. She was more comfortable on his lap than any other place in the house.  She pointed out each fingerprint, showing him how different they were, the whole time chattering up a storm and filling him in on her exciting trip to the police station.

Joe looked down at his hands, at all the finger tips grafted to the point of smooth, and watched his right hand move with great effort toward her.  Slowly, painstakingly, he covered her little hand with his somewhat knotted, deformed, nail-free, shorter-than-normal fingers, warmly caressing hers. He loved the look of life in these little hands. With difficulty he brought her tiny fingers to his lips and kissed each of them, beautiful, perfectly formed fingers, soft and flesh-pink, a color so different from his, so full of life. Josie was used to his slow half kisses. She knew he couldn’t move his mouth like she could and she loved his special kisses, the kind that no one else could give quite like he could.

As Joe lifted his head he noticed Ann’s reflection in the wall mirror, watching, smiling at what she was seeing. His eyes somewhat smiled back at her, as much as they could, since movement, even eye movement, was such a struggle for him. He thought back to the day over three years ago that changed everything.

He had a great job working on the oil rig and was earning the bucks. Life was good. The Gulf Coast was beautiful, water as far as the eye could see. He had grown up in the area. There was no place he would rather be.

April twentieth was the luckiest day of his life. Others might think differently but not Joe. He often thought back to the explosion and to that day. He felt it odd he remembered nothing. What he did know was that eleven of his co-workers no longer could look into their wives and children’s eyes. He could. Like he always told everyone, he was lucky.

When he woke from his coma a month later, he felt pain from burns all over his body but even worse on his torso and face. He remembered seeing his beautiful Ann for the first time after waking up and had no doubt he was the luckiest man alive. Little Josie was just a baby and didn’t understand much, but he knew, even then, he would endure all the torture, pain, suffering and endless operations required to live. They were worth every bit of pain because he could then be there at her graduation and her wedding.

There had been days he begged to die because the pain was so excruciating but he hadn’t really meant it. It was the nerve endings screaming, live nerves shooting pain, like a sharp knife digging everywhere, scraping each side, every part, over and over again, torturing him. The pain often took on a life of its own.

He laughed at the thought of a time years ago when an abscessed tooth had kept him home from work for two days because of what he thought at the time was pain. He scoffed and thought how trivial that pain had been compared to what he felt from this ordeal. Peanuts! How could he explain what this had been like? Maybe if someone cut a two inch deep, two inch long and two inch wide gash in their arm or leg and put acid on it they would feel some of what his pain had been. If they did that everywhere, then they would probably have a good idea.

He remembered the first day he had been given a mirror. It was after his third facial surgery was beginning to heal, months into his rehabilitation at the burn center. He had cried, but no one knew because his tear ducts didn’t function, they were gone. He saw a grotesque figure staring at him. His face was scarred, huge white patches on his forehead from skin grafts still not healed. His nose was disfigured, huge nostrils flared up toward the ceiling. Half his nose was white and the other half a dull ugly brown, each side a different shape. His left eye drooped severely and huge pouches hung underneath. Raw redness surrounded his right eye. His lips looked no different from his cheeks, raised and inflamed. Deep ridges and indented areas worse than pock marks covered his skin.

But that was then and this is now. Even though the mirror shows the same image, he feels that he looks different. His daughter sees love in his face and his wife sees contentment.

“Daddy, Daddy, listen to me!”

“Sorry, honey, daddy was dreaming again.”

Ann walks close to his chair, kisses his patchwork forehead, rubs her smooth cheek against his disfigured cheek and then plants a solid kiss on the lips that no longer resemble lips. She kisses Josie, picks her up from her Dad’s lap reminding them it is time to get ready for dinner.

“But, Mommy, I need to get pwints of Daddy’s fingers, too!”

Joe smiles at her, so glad he has this moment in his life, so grateful there will be many more. It matters naught to him that he is the man with no fingerprints. After all, he is one lucky guy!


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