Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I've always bit my fingers. I remember starting when I was about seven or eight. I saw my dad doing it and I somehow got to doing it, too. The time between then and now is blurred, but I know the habit stuck.

It's something I've grown with. At times it get worse and other times it fades. The best is when I go a week without chewing; my fingers look completely different. When they're that beautiful, I just can't stop staring at them.

I would notice funny glances from strangers when I would stare at my fingers during the rare times they weren't bloody. I could see why they would gawk at me. It probably would be strange seeing someone hold up their hands to examine them constantly. I blow it off, though. I know I've stared at strange things before, too.

What's worse than that is explaining to people what happened to my fingers. It's embarrassing, but I know it's a somewhat common habit. I'm usually trying to hide my fingers or fighting back from putting one in my mouth. Maybe it's the ADD or some kind of oral fixation, whatever...so it goes, I guess.

When it gets bad, it's absolutely terrible. Sometimes I'll make myself bleed in public, with no band-aids available. I'll try to secretly use another finger to apply pressure to stop the bleeding, all the while promising I will stop doing it.

Usually, I'll find myself focusing on one or two fingers over the rest, picking the skin back to the joint. This makes it unbearable to bend my fingers, but...I just can't stop. It's probably why I started smoking cigarettes. It keeps my hands busy.

On this particular day, my fingers are looking pretty good. It's been three weeks since I last chewed! I must have finally broken the habit. I try to think of the last time I didn't have a single cut on my fingers. It had to have been months.

The past couple of days, however, I've transitioned to a new habit: biting the inside of my mouth. That's what usually happens; I'll find another habit to prioritize over my fingers. Yeah, the inside of my mouth hurts a bit, but it beats having people stare at my fingers. Usually it fades, though, and I'm back to looking like a toddler with my fingers in my mouth.

I make my way to the bus stop. Usually at this time, there's tons of other college students and lowlifes hanging around, but it's pretty empty except for a few people. It's nice; I actually get to sit down.

My hands are in my pockets. I want a cigarette, but I know the bus will be here any moment. Plus, I don't want my smoke bothering the girl beside me. I always hated doing that.

My mind drifts to other things. I didn't say goodbye to my dog before I left. I always hated doing that because he's gotten so old. Who knows when he'll die? I sigh and look down the street where the bus should be coming...there are only a few cars.

I take my hands out and place them on my thighs. My fingers look so nice, I instantly fill with pride. I hold them up without realizing it, admiring the fact that they look so decent. I feel the girl next to me shift. There's this sense of uneasiness coming from her. I make the mistake of directly looking at her.

She's staring at my hands, which are back on my thighs. At first, I'm confused. Why is she staring? It's probably because I've been admiring them for half the time I've been sitting next to her.

I feel my stomach sink. The girl isn't just looking at them. She's looking and she's terrified. I open my mouth. I want to say something, but nothing comes out. My mouth grows dry and my hands grow fidgety. I don't know what to do. Why must I stare at my hands so much? When I have nice fingers, can't I just be normal and not gawk at them all day?

I noticed a couple of other passersby staring all at once. They stop completely, mouths ajar. One pulls out a phone and looks like he's about to dial someone, but only three numbers are dialed. What? I'm so confused. People have never stared at me so much.

I look back at the girl and her eyes are so terrified. Her face is completely drained of color. I begin to feel faint, almost like I didn't eat enough today. I look back at my beautiful hands, drum them on my thigh, and then look away again. A man in front of me falls over; had he fainted? The girl finally stammers out her words, eyes livid.

"...my god...your fingers...so much blood...they're gone."

I look down at my hands. There's no blood, just my perfect fingers. I hear an ambulance approaching.


  1. Obviously the guy is crazy and chewed off his fingers but thinks his hands are perfect...

  2. And then a skeleton jumped out.

  3. I've been chewing my nails and the skin around it compulsively for years and they're bleedy looking all the time so I hope this story makes me stop.

    But probably not.

  4. I got it instantly and I just have to say...


  5. @Anon1: They've got some sort of mental illness that accompanies their chewing of the fingers, so they can't see that they've chewed their fingers off.

  6. Had no idea my story got around! Glad you all liked it. It was originally posted to /x/, possible /b/, and another short story site. It was also on my blog that no one followed.

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