Blisters warts fungus athlete’s foot. My family has it all. My brother gets warts on his palms. I get blisters on my heels, my hands, planter’s warts on my feet. My mum has toenails falling off because of black fungus. Kellye has a claw toe. My feet are double jointed so I change the channel with my toes.
My dad’s feet are normal- but hairy. Jess has a second toe that’s longer than the first.
Leo is lucky to be three. He has perfect baby feet. His toes are like grapes bubbling off a thick croissant. Edible. Not for long!
I used to stick my hands in plastic bags with a rubber band at the wrist to avoid the agony of hot shower water pounding into open wounds. I was convinced that they would never work properly if I allowed new, tight skin to grow in a way that didn’t allow me to flex. I split it. I had to pop them, or they popped all over the oar handles and got infected. I was a band-aid connoisseur. And how can I stand my prom date’s hands, she wanted to know? I showed her mine. “Oh my God, it’s contagious!”
Blisters are the runners enemy. The ones that burn red hot behind your sock on the soft skin of your heel. Or the ones that move in to the space between your toes rubbing with every pounding step. Bright and round the blisters love to grow only because you love, because you need, to run. You stick band-aids and paste tape and pray that the blisters subside but they answer to nothing. Running, running, they love the rubbing of your skin against sock pressed into your sneaker and you are begging, begging that they would stop, go away or damn it. Just pop.
The summer after sophomore year in college, I lived in a toolshed with neither electricity nor plumbing on the coast of Maine with a couple of hippie girls. We worked for a freakish antique dealer who specialized in fixing up second-rate junk and selling it to tourists as treasures. We couldn’t believe the prices people shelled out for our “art.” From various parts of an old school bus we found ingenious ways to restore broken furniture scavenged at the local dump. We spent the days blistering old paint from dressers, inserting bus seats into chair bottoms, patching, covering, faking, fooling.
In predawn light, the volcano glows lights up the clouds red that threaten to cancel our trek. The snow reflects into my bug-eyed goggles and I lace up my crampons over my bear-sized boots. I think I can. The snowy face deceives my depth perception, but it gives me hope the summit is near. I duct tape my toes and heals like little pigs in a blanket. My ice pick holds me steady. One foot after another and a box of Frosted Flakes gets me to the top. I wear flip flops for two months afterwards in hopes the blisters will heal soon.
With every pop I imagine a blister exploding white and pink. Thin skin unable to maintain the pressure—the built-up pressure; the final end to an ephemeral tenderness. No, I am not talking about pimples. I am referring to the large bubble wrap that my mother receives along with her photography equipment. That thick roll of plastic held apart by air, easy to destroy with sweaty feet. My brother and I are restless and ready for unwarranted revenge. We switchblade our knees and let gravity pull our femurs vertical, ending the powerful movement with the aggression of our heels. Pop!
I used to play the piano all the time when I was younger. I had lessons sometimes, and my teacher was Curl the fingers! Practice more! Watch the tempo!
I followed his instructions, except the ones about the physical traits of my hands. He disliked my bitten, mangled nails and thought that dedication and blistered hands from goal-keeping, foosball and frustrated golfing with a weak-ass grip were mutually exclusive.
I used to play the piano all the time when I was younger, but then I came to college and stopped. There are pianos everywhere and I don’t have blisters anymore. There’s no excuse.
It is soft. I can touch it, my hand sinks in, and it is stuck – whiteness appears briefly while blood rushes to the side, then it disappears. The shell is there and it hovers over the skin-blood like a deflated balloon with too much rubber and not enough life. I can push the shell hard and the air goes where it can. I can push down to the red – making feeling go to the rest of my foot. Raw. It is sticky. It is friction and the pain is friction – rough, soft and then hard and then it is gone.
Mom, today at gymnastics i got a rip on my hand and its like a blister that rips open when you swing on the bar a whole bunch and i got my first today and Pat said it’s kinda like a rite of passage every gymnast experiences even Shannon Miller even though she wears grips on her hands cuz those are mostly so she doesn’t slip but mine is just a little one and one time Amanda ripped up her whole hand and even though i bet that hurt i would do that to be as good as her someday…