Imprints

I left handprints everywhere.

I would intentionally leave handprints nearly everywhere I went when I was younger. It became a nervous habit, a superstitious compulsion. I could not go somewhere without leaving something of me behind. Handprints were unobtrusive. One, two, three, four, five fingers and a palm carefully and deliberately pressed against a surface. Care was taken to leave a perfect impression of my hand, each fingerprint whorl, heart line and mound of Venus clearly outlined and perfectly preserved.

Windows were my favorite. Ghostly imprints of my hand visible for only a moment as the heat of my hand met with cold glass. My fingers and palm outlined in vapor, before disappearing. I am here. I was here.

Impressions, rich in genetic information, were the only sign that I had been in that space, that I had been there. I wanted to make sure that if anything happened to me (because it could happen to me), they would be able to say: she was here, we know who she is, she has a name. Eventually the urge to leave a genetic ghost trail of myself became less strong, I stopped needing to make sure that every place I went had a clear sample of my DNA.

Instead, I have learned new ways of leaving an impression. Smile and make eye contact, so when they share a photo of you, strangers will remember seeing you. Wear something distinctive, but not so outrageous that it can be used against you later.

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