I woke up in the middle of the night last night curled on the far side of an enormous, cushy bed in an enormous, cushy hotel in the Rocky Mountains. It was 2:47, which is a time I often wake up.
It was black in the room the way only a hotel, with those magic light-canceling curtains, can be. I think of that particular blackness as Hotel Dark.
The one question on my mind, curled there on the edge of that bed so big an entire family could have fit onto it, was this: Which wrist are my birthmarks on?
These are two tiny Rice Krispie shaped birthmarks. They have been with me since birth (which is probably why they’re called birthmarks). This means that every day of my life, I have lived with my birthmarks, which are visible every time I look at that wrist.
But which wrist was it?
It was 2:47 a.m. and I needed to know. But I needed to remember, and not figure out the answer by quickly touching each wrist. It seemed crazy not to know which wrist was the birthmark wrist.
Pitch black. 2:48. 2:49. I forbade either hand to touch the other wrist. The vast width of the invisible bed stretched behind my curled-up back, and I was conscious of the seven pillows I had tossed to the far end.
You have lived inside this body your entire life, I told myself. It seemed so sad that I didn’t know the answer, by instinct, by familiarity with my own self.
Nick Drake started singing inside my head, that haunting song of his: Which Will.
Then I started thinking about my face. I realized that I had never seen my face in real life. The backward reflection of it in a mirror, many times. The outline of my nose, and my Donald Duck-like upper lip that one time that the bee stung it.
But my actual face, the one that everyone else sees? Never. Not even once. And I never will.
I thought about how when I lace my fingers together and then look at them all twisted up and command one to lift, and another to twitch, most of the time, the wrong finger will lift or twitch.
How well do I know my own body?
Which will you go for? Which will you love? Which will you choose from? From the stars above. . .