During 2020 there was a shortage of hand soap worldwide. In the United States companies that normally made paint, car parts, or tequila were approved to begin manufacturing hand soap. However, they had to stick to a strict recipe and were not allowed to put in any additives like aloe vera that would cause it to gel. So the hand soap was liquid and it stank of chemicals. I was not sure what was in it but i used it for over a year. It was all i could get my hands on. There was no normal soap. The soap turned all of my jewelry black. Anything it touched turned black…my rings, a necklace chain it splashed on…when it touched my bracelet i hurried to rinse and wipe it, hoping to save it from the same fate. The soap turned my hands brown. The pigment would collect in the lines and creases of my hands and they would look as if someone had taken a brown pen and drawn in all the creases of my hands. I wasn’t sure why this was happening either but it wouldn’t wash off unless scrubbed vigorously with the hard textured side of a sponge and dish washing soap for a good 3 to 4 minutes. This often left my hands raw and bleeding so i frequently just let them be brown.

Now that i no longer work in healthcare, i dont have brown hands anymore but my jewelry is still tinged black as if its been burnt by fire. I thought about buying all sorts of products to see if i could get my rings silver and shiny again. However, i recognized that it would probably be a waste. My knuckles had become swollen and arthritic since i was infected and i hadn’t worn my rings in nearly a year. I sat in the bathroom next to my jewelry box and tried one on. It went over the knuckle to slide onto my finger just fine. However, my fears were realized when i attempted to pull it off. It was thoroughly stuck. The more i pulled and pried, the more swollen my knuckle became. I stood at the sink and ran my hand under some cold water. I waited for the swelling to subside under the cold water but it didn’t appear to be doing so. I was about to go for the olive oil when the ring budged a bit. I realized there was some give and i twisted and yanked the ring hard. The ring shot across the room and i had to fish it from beneath the cabinet on my hands and knees. I rinsed the dust off of it and put it back in my jewelry box. I didn’t feel like resizing all my rings, figuring out how to recover their regular appearance, and still having to worry about how temperature and weather would affect the amount of swelling in my knuckles. It was just easier not to wear rings.

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