"What IS that?" she cried.
Now, I understand the colour wasn't necessarily to everyone's taste, but I really didn't think it was that bad. It was a subtle pale pink; perhaps one could accuse me of being too conservative, but it was certainly not worthy of sheer disgust.
"It's my fingernail!" I answered, a little hurt.
"No! Not your nail!" she screeched. "Your finger! What's on your FINGER?"
"Um... my wedding ring?" I asked. Now, my wedding ring is really very nice. It's classic and restrained and extremely shiny as I recently cleaned it with my toothbrush. There was no way J could have a problem with my wedding ring.
"NO!" she said, and she was positively wincing. "That... that.... WHAT IS THAT?"
And finally I got it. She was pointing to my Bum Finger.
|The Real Life Bum Finger|
Now, J has known me for nearly fourteen years. She has spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours with me. Could it be possible she never noticed my physical deformity?
"It's my Bum Finger!" I told her. "Have you seriously never seen it before?"
She shook her head. I was astonished.
Later that night I was lying in bed thinking. And then I remembered a time, long, long ago, when I suddenly noticed a friend's serious deformity three months after meeting him.
I was sixteen years old, and I had just completed filming the television mini-series I starred in. The shoot was over, and I had been sent a cast and crew photo in the mail to keep for posterity.
I took out the photo and looked at it. And as my eye wandered over the faces of the people I had lived with on location, and worked with, and eaten with, I glimpsed something that made me jump.
One of the crew - a cheery bloke called Bill - was missing his right arm.
Oh. My. GOD. I was shocked. How could I not have noticed it? I had been around Bill every single day for twelve weeks and I had never noticed he was short one limb. He had only a stump where his arm should have been.
It rocked me to the core.
For years I wondered how I could possibly have missed something so obvious. For years. Until finally, one day, I took my photo album out, and lingered over that picture one more time.
And it hit me. Bill's right arm had been there all along. It was in shadow. I'd fallen for a trick of the light.
I felt like a total fool.
Still, being with J made me feel somewhat better. Because J managed to miss a real life Bum Finger. So I guess that makes us just about even.*
*okay, so I'm way stupider. I'm clutching at straws here, people