Tuesday, November 13, 2012
And a few distinct memories crossed my mind.
It was a date.
With a boy. The circumstances were a bit strange, as it often was with this boy. I was wondering whether or not I should feel awkward, and with this particular boy that was always the question I had in mind.
We were on a date, and in accordance with a mandate from my father, we were not alone, but it wasn't a group date either. It was me and him, and and five of his friends, all of whom I was meeting for the first time.
They seemed to have been informed of how to conduct themselves prior to the occasion. Or maybe they were always so interested and accommodating.
We sat around a square table in a small cafe. The boy looked around for a minute and said, "Why don't we all hold hands?"
Apparently I was the only one who found the request to be strange because the rest of them complied without a word. I held his hand and the hand of his friend who sat to my left. We sat there for a while like that, holding hands, talking. Not long after, the friend on my left let go of my hand and when she did, I looked around the table and noticed that everyone else had let go too. Everyone but the boy, who still held my hand calmly.
I looked down at our hands, my right in his left, and wondered if I was supposed to feel something.
It didn't feel weird, or even uncomfortable like it maybe should have. It was just there. Just a hand.
A few months down the road I'm hanging out with my friends.
In the backyard trying to set up a projector movie. We failed miserably and opted to play games instead. We formed a circle on the grass to play Murder in the Dark (at least I think that's what it's called...). We took each others hands with eyes closed and the game began as murderer squeezed the hand of someone on either side of him.
Laura held my right hand, and a boy held my left. A boy who I thought I might like.
We were all holding hands mitten-style, like regular people, when, in a playful mood, he loosened his grip to slide his fingers between mine, wiggling them. Fingers newly placed, he gripped my hand for a minute and then loosened again to softly pinch the bulges of skin below my finger tips. It tickled a little.
I thought for a minute as he went on to quickly holding each of my fingers one by one.
How was I going to know if he was squeezing my hand to pass the killer's message?
Was this what having someone hold your hand is supposed to feel like?
I had wanted to hold his hand for a long time.
Ever since that mutual activity he invited me to in his ward, where they lead us around blindfolded, and for a brief moment someone placed my right hand in his in order to lead us to the beginning, before we were separated.
I had longed for it. There was just something about them, his hands. I knew I could find comfort in the soft curve of his long fingers, his wide palms. But we had discussed his dislike of being touched. Was I an exception to the rule?
It was March and he was in my house, sitting on the couch next to me. I sat sideways in my seat. I was showing him a small, faded brown spot on the side of my ring finger, a scar from a long ago bee-sting. Seeing it reminded him of something. He started to speak but caught his words in his throat. I beseeched him to speak. Hesitantly, he revealed a medium sized, dark brown spot on the side of his ring finger.
"It's a birthmark.", he said. I asked him if I could touch it. He was quiet for a moment, then nodded. I reached out to touch it with my index finger. It was smooth, very soft. I rubbed it back and forth. I had never thought about the sides of anyone's fingers before, but his were addictive, like hair so soft you can't help but touch it all the time. I traced along the edge of his fingers for a time until he took hold of my wrist with his other hand, layed my hand palm up in the space between us and circled my palm with the tips of his fingers. He took my fingers between his thumb and index finger as if he were transferring an invisible ring from finger to finger.
It was a few days later when we actually held hands. We rode in the backseat on the way home from the festival of colors. Jason on my left and Kam on my right. As we jostled in the gravel roads for the first few minutes of the drive our hands touched accidentally. Electric. Fifteen minutes later I couldn't take it any longer and snatched his hand up into mine. I stared straight ahead, my cheeks boiling. When I finally got the nerve to look over at him, he was staring out the window, smiling.
He stroked the back of my thumb with his, softly.
And I didn't have to think about it because I knew that was what it was supposed to feel like.