My hands are dying.
I keep trying to explain it to Milo, but he just looks at me like I'm crazy.
"They don't feel warm—they haven't." I squeeze the tips of my fingers as hard as I can, which hurts. "They're not numb, though . . ."
"Maybe you have that . . . Raynaud's disease," he says. He takes my right hand and studies my fingers. They seem healthy, pink. He shakes his head. "They're not blue.
"But they're cold."
"They feel warm to me."
"They feel cold," I insist.
"Okay, Eddie," he says. "They're cold."
I jerk my hands from his and then I rub them together. Friction. Heat. Milo can say what he wants; they're freezing. It's the hottest summer Branford has seen in something like ten years, but I haven't been able to get my hands to warm up since it happened.
I hold them up again. They don't even look like my hands anymore. They don't even look like anything that could belong to me, even though they're clearly attached.
"They're different," I tell him.
"Would you please put your hands down?" he asks. "Jesus."
My hands have changed. I catch Milo looking at them sometimes, and I see it on his face that they're different, no matter what he's saying now.
We're at the park, sitting on the picnic tables, watching a summer world go by. Kids play in the fountain with their parents. Pant legs are rolled up and big hands are holding on to tiny hands, keeping them steady against the rush of water. The smell of burgers and fries is in the air; food. It reminds me the fridge at home is empty and I have to go grocery shopping today or my mom and I will starve. I don't even know how long the fridge has been that empty, but I noticed it today.
"What's in your fridge?" I ask Milo.
"Doesn't matter," he says. "My mom isn't home."
We're stuck between my house and his lately. He hasn't been allowed to have girls at his place unsupervised since he hit puberty and I don't like hanging out at my place now.
It's too depressing.
Click here for more of this excerpt. You can also read AWAKE, a bonus short-story told from Milo's perspective. (He's Eddie's best friend.) It's spoiler free and from a boy's perspective. It takes place before the events of Fall for Anything and you can read it here.
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