#EVERyTuesdayWordplay (Week 12): Hands

Domino smiled as she watched him at his computer. She tapped her sister on the shoulder, “Watch. Watch him. See?”

“What? He’s at his computer. What is there to see?”

“You don’t see it, do you?” Domino couldn’t believe Shelly couldn’t see something so obvious. “His hands. Watch his hands.”

Shelly watched, briefly, then shook her head, “Boring. Boring, boring, boring.”

“Shelly! No. How can you not see it?”

“See what?”

Domino practically drug her sister to the kitchen, “See what? His hands, silly!”

“So, he has hands! So what! We all have hands!”

“Not like his, we don’t!” Domino looked through the doorway, back toward the computer, where he sat, typing away. “Not at all like his.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Shelly held up her own hands, “He’s got 10 fingers, two palms, and wrists, just like we do.”

Domino shook her head, “Yes, he has the same physical number of fingers, and palms. Yes, they are, mechanically, hands.” She waved her own hands, “Just like ours. But.”

“What. Tell me already.”

“His hands are who he is.”

The look on Shelly’s face said, “You are out of your mind.”

“No. Shelly. It’s true.” Domino let herself smile. She’d never known anyone whose hands were the doorways to his soul, to his heart. “Think about it. What does he do with his hands? What’s he doing right now.”

“Banging on his keyboard.”

“He’s writing.” Domino corrected her. “He’s writing. He’s not banging. He’s expressing himself. Through his hands.”

“So?” Shelly still had that “You’re out of your mind” look.

“Have you seen him wash the dishes?” The way his hands tried to avoid the yucky parts of the dishes, the things floating in the sink, the sharp edges everywhere. “Or folding the laundry?” How his hands were careful not to hurt the fabric, especially on delicate things. How they reacted to different textures, how they touched her clothing strikingly differently than his own. “How he holds them when he talks?”

Shelly sighed. “His hands show who he is? How he feels?”

“Yes! When he taps his fingers to the sound of the music. When his hands can’t stop moving during the scary parts, or the big fights, in a movie, or on TV. When his hands hold each other, when he’s nervous, or scared.”

Domino watched her sister think, watched as Shelly remembered all the things she’d watched him do. Driving, mowing the lawn, painting the walls, holding her niece, scratching the cat’s ears. It was like watching the sun rise at dawn, where the light starts to peek over the horizon, and the colors of everything start coming on.

“Oh, my.” Shelly looked toward him on his computer. “I never noticed.” She almost laughed, “I never noticed.”

Domino had, “It’s true. His hands show everything he is. Everything he feels.”

Shelly smiled, “How come I keep hearing that song, he’s a magic man, he’s got magic hands.”

“He does, Shelly. He really does.”

495 Words
@mysoulstears


Saw the word prompt of “Hands” for Ever Addams weekly #EVERyTuesdayWordplay Flash Fiction prompt, and I knew exactly what to write. The how required me to try something different. Go read the other stories for prompt #12.

#VisDare 41 : Transfixed

We returned to Old Phoenix, as the sun was setting. “Follow us!” the cats mewed. They led us to an old warehouse someone had converted into a theater. There were several tables along the East wall. The cats led us to one. “Sit! Sit!”

Alice whispered, “This is Josie’s place.”

A man in a tuxedo, carrying a bottle of wine and two glasses approached the table. He poured a drink for each of us. A woman sat down at a piano in the north-west corner of the warehouse, and started to play.

“Josie!” Alice grabbed my hand, as a woman in a wedding dress, and ballerina shoes pirouetted across the floor. She stopped before us. Alice sat, transfixed, staring at the woman, unable to speak.

The woman took my hands, and placed them on Alice’s. “Help her.” As she danced, I wondered how I could help Alice.

150 Words
@LurchMunster


This is part 26 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

If you wish to read the entire tale, you can find it, starting with Part 26, running back to Part 1, here.

That Wasn’t Really The Worst Of It

“You’re still finding your way, aren’t you?”

I laughed. That question was all Shelly.

“Tom, I’m serious.”

I made a point of looking into her soft, green eyes, so she’d understand I was paying attention to her. Of course, I liked looking into her eyes. I sometimes wished I could just stare into them. I knew I’d get lost in them, forgetting everything, including time. And just stare. But I didn’t want to disturb her, so I quickly looked away. “Yes.”

Shelly shook her head, and ran a hand through her long, brunette hair. I found myself wishing it was my hand, so I could feel the texture of her hair, so I put my hands down on the table. As I did, I realized my eyes were studying her. The way her hair fell across one shoulder. The line of her neck, and the way it curved so gently into her shoulder. Her lips. For the thousandth time I wondered how they tasted. How it would feel to press my lips to hers. I forced myself to look at my hands.

“Tom, another person would have gone back to work by now.”

I shook my head. It was my turn to smile, so I put the best smile I knew how to make on my face, “I’m not normal. You know that.”

I dared to glance at her eyes again, and wished I hadn’t. I could see the confusion, and the sorrow there. “But you had a good job. You were successful. You had a career.” Shelly put her hands on top of mine.

Gods, what a feeling. I wanted to close my eyes, and listen to everything my hands were telling me. I wanted to memorize the feel of her hands, on top of mine. Her graceful fingers on top my hands, her palms resting on my fingers. I knew I’d remember the feel of her touch, of her hands on mine, for weeks, every time I closed my eyes and thought of her.

“Tom,” her eyes locked on to mine, “It’s been three years since this all started.”

Gods, how I knew that! Three years since I came apart. Three years since my life burned to the ground. My career ended then. I’d worked a part-time job since then. I’d stopped looking for another job.

I tried to look away from her eyes. I couldn’t. I wanted to talk, I did. But all I could see was the concern, and the sadness leaking from those pools of green. I fought desperately to say anything, and I managed to whisper, “I can’t go back.” I tried so hard to smile then. And I failed. “I can’t go back.”

I wanted to tell her I knew she felt I’d come apart. Collapsed. Fallen to pieces. I knew what had happened to me made her sad. And I knew she didn’t understand anything that I’d been through. I knew she didn’t understand the life journey I was on. I knew she never would.

All I could do was smile.

She pulled her hair back over her shoulders. She did that when she tried to think through something.

“I can’t return to the world that nearly killed me.”

“Then find a different job. Don’t let your skills go to waste. Don’t let life pass you by.” Her eyes had that look people give each other when they know what they’re talking about. I know those looks exist. But I don’t know what they mean. I didn’t understand what she was saying at all. It was like she asking me to go back in time, three years. And become the person I’d been.

I couldn’t go back. I couldn’t become that empty shell again. I couldn’t become what she wanted me to. I couldn’t be bound, or defined, by a career, by a job. I couldn’t be how people wanted. I couldn’t be what they wanted.

“It’s like you’ve given up.”

I wished then, she could see my soul. See the tears my soul shed then. I wanted to explain everything to her. Tell her I hadn’t given up. I’d awakened. Come alive. Stepped beyond the walls of the life she lived in. Walls she couldn’t even see. And that wasn’t really the worst of it. The worst was she believed I no longer cared. All I could do was stare into her green eyes and try not to drown in them. All I could do was feel her hands on mine, and try not to cry tears of joy at the exquisite feelings coming from my hands.

All I could do was whisper, “I haven’t. I’ll find something.”

“When?”

“When I find what I’m looking for.”

I knew I’d never get to taste her lips. I knew I’d never get to run my fingers through her hair. I knew I’d never get to lose myself in her eyes. I knew she’d do what everyone else had done.

She’d walk away. And never look back, believing I would never recover from what had happened.

She’d never understand.

I was outside the world she lived within.


Author’s Note : Sometimes, the constraints of a flash fiction challenge just get in the way. Sometimes, I have to cut away too much of a story to fit into the straitjacket of a word limit. This is one of those times. I wrote the original version of this story, and then cut it to ribbons, to fit it into the 250 word limit for #ThursThreads. (That version is here.)

This time, I had to go back, and rework the story, adding in things I’d had to cut away, filling in the missing parts of the tale. Hope you like the extended version.

Mark.

There Are Days I Forget

There are days I forget.
Days I get lost.
Days like today.
When I feel empty.
When I feel wounded.
When I feel drained.
When I feel all wrong.

There are days I forget
Now.
Here.
This moment in time.
This place.
When I remember everything.
When I can’t find my way
Out of my past.
Out of what’s already done.

Other times
I get lost other ways.
Worrying about too many things
That haven’t happened.
That are not happening.
That may never be.
Lost in wondering about a future
That I can’t possibly know.
That I can’t possibly see.

And I can feel my jaw clinch.
And my pulse begin to race.
I can feel my anger build.
Fueled by all my fears.
And all the experiences
Of my life.

The seeds of self-doubt
Sewn so many years ago.
When everyone I knew
Told me I couldn’t be
Me.
Told me I had to be
Them.

It’s on days like this,
When I’m so lost.
So confused.
Remembering my past.
And worrying about things
That haven’t happened,
And may never be.

It’s on days like this
I have to sit down.
And stop.
And breath.
And close my eyes.
And remember.

Now.
This heartbeat.
This breath.

They taught me long ago
The air is invisible.
You can’t feel it.
You can’t see it.
How can you know it’s there?

Like so many things
I was taught
In the life that was,
What I learned
Was all a lie.

For I know
As I sit here on my own.
And I close my eyes.
And simply breathe.

I know.

I can feel the very air
All around me.

I can hold out my hands.
Spread my fingers out.
And I can feel the air
As it flows across my palms.
And between the fingers
Of my hands.

How can anyone believe
The air isn’t really there?
When you can touch it.
When you can feel it.
Everywhere.

So I sit,
Silent and alone.
On the sofa
In my home.
And I close my eyes.
And breathe.
Just breathe.
And feel.
Everything my body feels.

And it only takes a few heartbeats
For my body to remind me
Of the truth.

All I have,
And all I am.
I now.

In this breath.
In this heartbeat.

And there is nothing else.

There is no past.
It’s gone.
It’s done.
No one anywhere
Can go back and fix
Anything that’s happened
Already.

No one anywhere
Can even fix what happened
In the last heartbeat.
In the last breath.

There is no future.
Because it hasn’t happened yet.
And while it’s possible
To extrapolate,
And project,
The events that might happen,
Based on what’s happened
In the past.

But there’s no way
To guarantee
What will happen
In your next heartbeat.

So I sit here.
And I breathe.
And I remember.
Now.
This breath.
This heartbeat.

I sit here
And remember
Me.

I Remember…

As I sit here tonight.
Writing down these words.
I remember.
God help me.
I remember.

I remember a hug.
That wasn’t supposed to happen.
That was a big surprise.
That I never saw coming.

I remember the texture
Of the clothing she wore.
My fingers burning the sensation
Of the fabric
Of her sweater
Into my memory.

I remember
The way her hair felt.
Against my cheek.
Another memory.
Burned into my brain cells.
Forever.

I remember.
So much.

Other memories are there.
Like another hug.
Oh, so long ago.
I can still remember
The smell of her perfume.
The texture of her hair.
How it felt
To have her arms
Around my neck.

I can remember other things.
So many other things.

Watching tears fall.
From hazel eyes.
And wishing.
I could somehow.
Turn back time.
And change the things
That caused those tears.
That caused the hurt
I could not help but see
In those eyes.
That is forever
Burned into my memory.

I can remember
Countless things.

The time I reached
Across the barrier
Of socially acceptable behavior.
Of the rules
That I’ve never understood.
And touched the hand
Of a friend.
Because I wanted her to know
That if she ever asked
For my help
I’d always find a way.

I remember
Gifts like these
From life to me.

Priceless memories.

All my life
I’ve wished.
I’ve prayed.
That God would free me
From my hands.
From my ability
To feel such things.

Why, God?
Why?
I’ve asked that countless nights.
I’ve screamed that to the heavens
Out beneath the stars.

Take my hands from me!
I can’t take this anymore!
I don’t want to feel
The things my hands feel!
Why did you give them to me?
Why!

Never once
In all the years
Did God answer me.

Never even once.

Instead, time passed.
And I collected memories
I sometimes wish
I didn’t have.
I sometimes wish
I could forget.

Until I finally understood
A little truth of life.
That shocked me.
Stunned me.
Caused my heart to ache
Within my chest.
And my soul
To shed more tears.

Until I came to understand
That not everyone has the gift
Of hands like mine.
Not everyone has memories
Forever burned into their mind
Of the things they’ve felt.
With the fingers of their hands.

Until I came to understand
That not everyone
Can see the hurt,
The pain,
The loneliness,
In another’s eyes.

Until I learned
That my heart aches
When one of my friends
Cries.
And the hearts
Of so many others.
People that I’ve known
All my life.
Don’t feel anything at all.

There are times,
Like tonight,
As I sit here
Writing down these words.

That I wish
I had a way
To just turn my hands off.
For just a little while.
So I could get a break
From all the things they feel.

But I know.
I know.
That the sensitivity of my hands,
And all the thngs they feel.
Is a part of me.
And without them
I would not be,
And could not be,
Who I am meant to be.

My hands feel so many things.
And because they do.
I can see the pain
In another’s eyes.
I can hear the music
In another’s laughter.
And my heart remains alive
Inside of me.

God gave me these hands.
So that I could learn,
And know,
And understand.

That it’s OK to feel.
And it’s OK to care.

I remember the texture
Of the sweater
That she wore
On the day that she hugged me.
Even though that happened
Years ago.

I remember things like this.
As if they happened
Yesterday.

Can you?