Friday, August 19, 2005

A followup to the cadaveration

excerpt from Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

"Bare Bones"

"I sat in my yellow vinyl chair not thinking about Torrey. Instead, I looked at my hand. It occurred to me that my palm looked like a monkey's palm. The crinkle of the three lines running across it and the way my fingers curled in seemed simian to me. If I spread my fingers out, my hand looked more human, so I did that. But it was tiring holding my fingers apart. I let them relax, and then the monkey idea came back.

I turned my hand over quickly. The back of it wasn't much better. My veins bulged--maybe because it was such a hot day--and the skin around my knuckles was wrinkly and loose. If I moved my hand I could see the three long bones that streched out from the wrist to the first joints of my figers. Or perhaps those weren't bones but tendons? I poked one; i twas resilient, so probably it was a tendon. Underneath, though, were bones. At least I hoped so.

I poked deeper, to feel the bones. They were hard to find. Knucklebones were easy, but I wanted to find the hand bones, the long ones going from my wrist to my fingers.

I started getting worried. Where were my bones? I put my hand in my mouth and bit it to see if I crunched down on something hard. Everything slid away from me. There were nerves; there were blood vessels; there were tendons. All these things were slippery and elusive.

'Damn,' I said. Georgina and Polly weren't paying attention.

I began scratching at the back of my hand. My plan was to get hold of a flap of skin and peel it away, just to have a look. I wanted to see that my hand was a normal human hand, with bones. My hand got red and white--sort of like Polly's hands--but I couldn't get my skin to open up and let me in.

I put my hand in my mouth and chomped. Success! A bubble of blood came out near my last knuckle, where my incisor had pierced the skin.

'What the fuck are you doing?' Georgina asked.

'I"m trying to get to the bottom of this,' I said."

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