I've been cracking my knuckles since I was six, but back then my bones were still practically cartilage.
My mother could only make me stop during dinner. Her brass voice echoed through the house, like the trumpets in a marching band on the Fourth of July. (Although not as patriotic.)
My mother didn't know about all the times I cracked my knuckles when I was by myself.
Sweet sixteen and the joints between my fingers still crunched secretly under my skin and between what was now developed into hard white bone.
I've only broken one bone in my entire life.
It was my nose during my homecoming soccer game, senior year, under the lights and across the street from the stone-cold brick building that housed my Catholic education.
Soccer ***** have hit my stomach and my chest countless times, leaving hexagonal imprints in scratchy blotches of red over an empty envelope of acid and oxygen.
This time it hit me and I fell to the cold and frozen dirt, my jersey conforming to the brown-green of roughened grass and the blood from my nose providing contrast and complement all at once.
Someone picked me up and I became conscious and self-conscious that someone’s hands could touch my skin and that someone’s hands could feel my body.
My hands hung off the sides of the stretcher I didn't need (I thought it was crazy, all this fuss over a broken nose) and they swung as I was carried, bringing blood to my knuckles so that they could swell and expand.
My mother tripped over her questions when she asked if I could breathe or eat or speak or if my choking was cause for concern.
“B-b-baby don’t d-d-die, I m-m-made rice and b-beans. B-b-baby don’t d-d-die, I m-m-made your f-f-f-f-favorite.”
You tied me in a robe and stuck a tube down my throat. B-b-baby don’t d-d-die, it’s your f-f-favorite.