I come from a line of cautious, careful people. When we print our paperwork, we print a single copy of everything but two of all the forms. We know we make mistakes, which is okay, but thinking ahead helps, and mistakes don’t mean retracing our steps. My father taught us this, and I believe his father taught him this, but I am never too sure about the latter. There is little I truly know about things. We also come from a line of people who keep to themselves, and to talk, only share nuggets here and there, and like solid raconteurs, only tell you the best parts. The rest is all stored in glass bottles, kept on the window sills of a nursery of memories in our heads. They grow into their own, branching in all directions, vines intertwining—the foliage of confusion—and we only show people the flowers.
But as much as I know where I come from, I have opened all doors to everything, and if you do not fancy getting your feet dirty with all the mud, you can always look at it through the window, one word at a time. These words of mine are but glimpses of the real thing. You will never be able to make sense of it all with just a look, but if you so prefer it, then that shall be the case. Things rarely are as they appear until you trace every node to the beginning. You must run your finger softly lest you bruise the stem as you walk along with it. Surely, this will get your hands dirty. To get your hands dirty is the cost of truly knowing someone. You cannot wear gloves through it. For better or worse, much leaves a mark: some you can wash with soap, some with a drink, and some, you must leave in the hands of time.
But I am cautious and careful. I tend to learn too much from my mistakes, for I tend to retrace my steps anyway. And so, I left a pair of rubber gloves on the stool near the door. Not everyone who wants to take a closer look wants to get their hands dirty, and not everyone who gets their hands dirty is willing to truly know us. Perhaps, it was never about that.
It is ever only about who refuses the gloves.