I once had someone who thought otherwise about me, but she has been dead for going on three years after cancer wouldn’t leave well enough alone. I try to do my best to see what she saw in me, but too many hits to the face have left the bridge of my nose so bent out of shape it’s hard to see myself in the mirror and think, You, sir, with your surgically corrected deviated septum, are flawless, even though I believe a misshapen nose looks better on a man, makes him, or I, look more handsome. At least that’s what I tell myself. Who knows whether it’s true or if I’m just lying the way I do when my hand shakes in front of someone who wants to know if I’m okay, if anything’s wrong, if I have something I want to say to them, and I’m too afraid to say it, afraid of what it may do to tell them the whole truth. So, I say I’m cold, which is true, but not the whole truth: that my hands shake all the time when they’re holding objects, have since I was a kid. It’s called an essential tremor, but shaky hands aren’t an attractive trait in a man and neither the tremor nor the cold is the sole reason I’m shaking with the knowledge we might part without me being able to say what you still mean to me, what I really want: to hold on to you if you can look at me again and see something other than the flaws, which is probably too much to ask of you now since I can’t even look at myself without mouthing what I should’ve been brave enough to say then with something other than these foolish shaking hands, I’m shaking because I want you.
Deron Eckert is a writer and poet who lives in Lexington, Kentucky. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, Strange Horizons, Door is a Jar, Ghost City Review, Maudlin House, The Fourth River, and elsewhere. He can be found on Instagram and X (Twitter) @DeronEckert.