Her Hands

Her hands, so tiny and delicate, rested gently on her mother’s breast as she suckled, filling her belly with the sweet, tepid, nourishing elixir of life.

Her hands grasped the soft, squishy cushion of the sofa as she righted herself, tenuously stepping into the next phase of life.

Her hands stuffed the pack she hoisted onto her back as she ambled out the door, skipping towards the bus stop. 

Her hands, now large enough to shield her ears, muffled the horror emanating from within her home as her father used his hands to unleash his rage and fury upon one of her brothers. 

Her hands were splayed over her coffee-colored hair as she cowered, curled into a ball, when it became her turn to bear the brunt of a father’s wrath.

Her hands clasped a bouquet of freshly-cut, virgin-white roses as she fled from one man into the arms of another who vowed to love, honor, cherish, and protect her “until death do us part.”

Her hands caressed the pinkish, pulpy, plump cheeks of each of her boys as they traded the toasty, snug, floaty space of her womb for a chance at life.

Her hands bandaged the bruised and bloody knees of her tow-headed toddler after he tipped his tricycle onto the jagged, unforgiving, gray slab of cement. He sucked in air between sniffles and sobs as her fingers worked their boo boo magic. 

Her hands scrubbed and de-cluttered the rooms of her once bustling home, preparing the walls for a fresh slathering of color. One by one, her sons, now young men, donned their wings and flew the coop, leaving her with an empty nest and an opportunity to reinvent herself.

Her hands wiped the sticky, jelly-stained face of a child who reminds her of a young boy who too, often wore the evidence of a made-with-love, PB&J sandwich. This yellow-haired youngin’ calls her Mamaw.

Her hands clutched a damp, wadded tissue used to soak up the salty tears spilling from her orbs as she retold the story of her tumultuous, terror-filled childhood within the confines of the safe, tranquil, confidential space of a therapist’s office.

Her hands slid across the smooth, shiny, woody grain of the table, grasping the shaky, fidgeting hands of another. She is now the counselor, dedicated to helping other women as they reveal their struggles to her.

Her hands, the appendages of a devoted, faithful follower, have been clasped in prayer umpteen times as she petitioned for grace or peace or forgiveness for the wounded, the sick, the down-trodden, the lonely, the addicted, the bereaved.  

Her hands brushed her stiff, shoulder-length, whitish-gray hair as she marveled at the woman reflected back in the shine of a mirror. The lines etched on her face serve as a roadmap of a life well-traveled.

Her hands gestured a final goodbye to her treasured family and friends as the bell tolled, calling her home…….