Clippings by Matt Torres
I cut my nails too short again today. I guess not all mistakes draw blood, or even hurt for that matter. Honestly, at this point I’m not even sure if it’s a mistake anymore. It’s sort of like they say, “Old habits die hard”. Or maybe that’s a stretch. Regardless, little by little I went chipping away at the old me. The part of me that tore away tufts of wool from my favorite muted brown blanket and annoyed my roommate JR whenever he would hear the incessant tapping reverberating from my desk. Tap tap tap. “Cut it out, would you?” I would never respond. Goodbye to the part of me that cracked under pressure.
It feels weird feeling too much of everything with every touch. My hands don’t comb through Henrietta’s thick brown locks quite the same. I wonder if she can tell like I can. That scarlet red mosquito bite I suffered sunbathing beside the sycamores along the Guadalupe River doesn’t exude the ecstasy it did without those keratin knives scratching the surface. The strings on dad’s old Gibson don’t tug the same way (not that I’ll ever be able to play Autumn Leaves like he did). Oh but still, that steel smell clings to my fingers the longer I blister my hands, pluck pluck plucking away in chase of that sound, that feeling. At least King still loves my scratches, don’t you King? Good boy…
I should have cut them yesterday, then I wouldn’t be dealing with this problem. Sure, the skin will grow back as it feels its way up the tip of my smooth naked fingers, and I will know shelter again. The daffodils outside will grow back too, as spring lends its nurturing rays to the hungering earth. Those brilliantly golden daffodils that Mom loved even if she didn’t get to see them bloom. Does the earth miss the soft pressure of her fair, bare knees as she toiled through the salty sweat in her eyes like I do when I remember how she would propel me into the air and we played airplane? Surely, the daffodils will need a helping hand as they peel back restful eyes in search of that welcoming warmth they have patiently waited to see all year. Surely, the earth will collect under my fingernails once more. Surely, I will have to cut my nails again.