Ten Amazing Facts about the Human Body

by | Oct 5, 2021 | Fiction, Issue Twenty Three

A teenager has two hundred and six bones, ninety-four less than she had when she was born.

            If you stretched her blood vessels from end to end and joined them together, you could loop the filament over the moon, twice.

            In a single year, she produces enough saliva to fill two bathtubs.

            If you counted her heartbeat for just twelve minutes, the number of beats would exceed the student body of our elementary school, where a rabbit-faced boy once twisted an inky bruise into my cheek.

            It took less time than it takes for blood to travel from my heart through my entire body for you to tell the principal what the boy had done, and less time than it takes for the blood to travel back to my heart for you to demand justice.

            The human tongue contains three thousand taste buds, equivalent to the number of miles between our house and your college, which I measured by studying a photo album jammed with pictures of us, your arm looped around my shoulders, me wearing a dress that had been your favorite.

            There are fourteen bones in the human face, my age in years when our brother snuck into my bedroom, knowing that you were too far away to help me.     

            Sisters share fifty percent of their DNA. That percentage doesn’t change when sisters split apart like cells, when they continue to divide until the tissue is crowded with voices that say I must be lying, accusing our brother to get attention, when what I crave is not attention, but for you to hold my hand as my tears fill bathtubs, as the weight of my shame collapses my lungs, as I burn in the eighty-six billion nerve cells of my brain.

            The human mouth can make eight hundred individual sounds. Ninety-nine percent more than it takes to say, “I believe you.”

END

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