Dad's Hands

I remember his hands.

Coming in from working outside, all the creases and lines in his hands would be filled in with black grease, oil, or soil. Charcoal etchings.

If they were particularly dirty, he’d call from the washroom, “hey Kay, can you bring the dish soap over”.

I’d bring it, then turn on the taps for him, calibrating to the perfect luke-warm temperature.

He’d wring his fleshy hands under the stream. After the surface dirt slid down the drain, he’d cup his hands in front of me and instruct me to put a dime-sized amount of the dish soup into them. I’d obey, then he’d repeat the wringing motions, lathering and lathering, creating a brown foam and a sloshing noise. Then he’d return his wringing hands to the water and let it carry the foam away.

Steam would rise to the medicine cabinet mirror, reflecting his bent head. A sweet and earthy aroma would rise to my nose.

He’d hold out his cupped hands again and ask me to dispense a bit more soap, then repeat the procedure until his hands were clean.

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