She didn’t know what it meant to open up her palms and raise them to the sun any longer. Yes, the physical sensations of connection to the elemnts were there, but most days – and not because it was cold – her fingers were curled tightly. He would take care of her cracked skin, remember to pick up the best, sweetest smelling oils and lotions. She would smile, wincing occasionally when she inhabited the discomfort of her contracted appendages. She had learned to live like this. She didn’t mind the stares it brought, the inconveniences.
What would happen, she wondered, if there was a way to interrupt the circles her fingers made? She knew enough about the body to understand that the results would be soothing, pleasurable. But she didn’t want to run the risk of never feeling his hand in hers again, so her breathing remained shallow, her jaw set tightly.
However, there was that one afternoon, where she tried to hold onto the string of a bright red balloon, and despite her best efforts it went soaring into the bright sky. She didn’t mourn its loss; he even watched it fly away with her, a reassuring palm on the small of her back. Their eyes met. She swallowed. “It’s time,” she thought, and let a tear slide down her face.
With a deeper-than-average breath, she looked between the clouds. Her fingers started to shift, knuckles cracking in a non-threatening way. Her chest lifted and she felt the warmth from her heart radiate to those limbs which had been idle yet not resting for too long. Her hands were soft. She reached towards his face and her smooth palm found his cheek, and for the first time she truly heard how his heartbeat played a wonderful harmony to her own. Turning towards the sky, glints of sunshine fell onto her open chest. She breathed. The panic and sirens she anticipated, the broken bones and shattered skin did not materialize. All was as it should be, yet this time with the calm of a still afternoon. Her disaster-ridden dreams, the shadows she believed to leap and dance were merely playful tricks of the light, for now she could reach out and touch it all, what was true matching even more honest words with a splendor that outshone her cerebral, imaginary scenarios.
Together, they took hands, properly, and began to walk, without destination or goals, just to enjoy the air, the sun, the intermittent breezes and to anticipate the beauty of the forthcoming evening.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”