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The Daily

Columns & Archives

Along with the daily feature articles from our columnists, read works from our past contributors in the categories of prose, poetry and visual art, alongside interviews and other musings.


Ring Finger by Álanna Hammel

Art: Maternal Caress by Mary Cassatt

The following piece of prose is published under An Archive for Our Mothers a literary archive created by All Ears to celebrate Mothers' Day 2021.

My mother has never apologized to me once. Never have the words “I’m sorry” left her mouth in my direction. I believe this is the wisest decision she has ever made. I know who is boss. I know where the power lies. I know when I’m in the wrong. I shouldn’t be caught up with whether she’s in the wrong or not, because that’s not what parents are for. Turning thirteen and realizing that they don’t know everything, they just had to pretend to know everything, is hard, but hearing them apologize is even harder.

I have ten fingers. One of them is not like the others. The ring finger on my left hand. I lost the top of that finger when I was three years old, it had to be sewn back on. This finger is plump. My hands are slightly chubby anyway, but this finger is twice the size of any other. It has a square nail with no cuticle, and three stitches; one at the side, one at the back and one halfway down towards the knuckle. There’s a ball of fat at the back. It looks ridiculous. My fingerprint is almost three dimensional on that ball of fat. I used to think I could tell the future from it. Never mind palm reading, this is dodgy finger reading.

Once I got a paper cut on that wad of fat, I wanted to cry for one hundred days. No ache or pain I had ever experienced in my sick-riddled life could compare to that paper cut. I have no feeling in this finger. No sense of what is what. I might flick it to muster up a reaction but all I feel is a buzz. I can barely move it too. The fourth finger on my right hand isn’t perfect. I’ve got a writer’s callus from the way I hold a pen; a technique my grandfather taught me to write the fastest way possible (a savior in exams and writing workshops). Although I can still move the fourth finger on my right hand perfectly.

Sometimes a cold wind might blow against a stitch and the pain of the door slicing through my finger comes back. I sneaked up behind my mother and grandfather as they were walking into a room, and stuck my hand out. My mother closed the door on my finger. She didn’t apologize. She brought me to the hospital, she stopped my tears, she saved my finger. What good would a sorry have done?

By: Álanna Hammel

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