At the open hatch of my car, I’m writing a mental grocery list, when something — what it is I don’t immediately know — happens. I’m fucked, I think. I’ve broken my hand.
A pneumatic hatch strut has broken, and is pinned between the hatch and taillight, the plastic light smashed. I turn my hand around and around. My hand suddenly seems very small, utterly familiar, a thing easily ruined.
People walk around me, going in and out of the co-op. Weirdly, I remember a car crash from my twenties when a Subaru Justy ran into my gold Rabbit. My Rabbit was knocked off the road. I got out and ran. The Justy had spun around and around and came to a stop, the wrong way in the middle of the road. No one was around. The Justy’s driver was crying, her window rolled down, saying, “I’ve killed you.” I begged her to get out of the car, leaning towards the Justy in the falling snow but not touching it, saying, “But I’m alive. I’m here.”
In a twist of great good fortune, my hand isn’t broken, only bruised. I go in the co-op and buy scallions and yogurt. The hatch and the strut are an irritation, another thing to sort out and solve, a fixable occurrence.
Later that week, after the dinner guests have left and it’s just me and my daughters and their friends, the five of us pull our chairs around the fire. The neighbors have taken their little kids into bed. The band in the village has quit by then, too, and the frogs are signing again, snippets of frog melodies.
In the darkness, we talk about relationships and marriage, what holds people together, what makes people endure. What makes people split. I toss another chunk of wood on the fire. A glistening half moon hangs over my house. Listening, I turn my hands around and around. So often, my hands are full and busy. Now, the moonlight falls in my open palms.
We keep talking and talking and talking. The moonlight is endless.