"Mountain Bluebird" by Elaine R. Wilson - NaturesPicsOnline. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.
I first walked in the pine woods on the far side of the mountains, that summer: the prickly, crumbly duff underfoot, the smell of resin, the intimation of fire.
You asked, "They feel different. Are you sure these are your hands?"
"I'm sure," I said. "They're my hands."
I thought a while and added, "they might feel different for a couple reasons. You've just reset millions of synapses, so your perceptions are bound to be altered. And I'm feeling especially tender towards you, so I might be touching you especially tenderly."
"Thank you," you said, and tears started in your eyes. Whether for the present tenderness, or the lost hands, I didn't know.
I saw a mountain bluebird for the first time, that summer, by the Metolius River. So fragile, and so beautiful. I had never seen anything so blue; I didn't know anything could be that blue. But I had no one to tell.