Calloused Hand Print by Paula Ray
I can still see him, planting bulbs along the azaleas, the first week of December. We always had tulips in bloom early Spring. I remember the way his muscles rippled beneath his blue flannel shirt, like the ocean wore a blanket. He was as stubborn as his father, refusing to wear gloves. On cold quiet nights, his calloused hands stroked music from me, as if I was his Spanish guitar, while the world disappeared beneath our bed and we ascended beyond our flesh into the galaxy. He's been gone for nearly five years, but my skin remembers him and my heart still dances with him on the kitchen floor, in the blackness of power outages, just like we did during hurricane season, when the wind serenaded us with bending pines--cones tapping on the tin roof. This morning, I walked to my bedroom window overlooking the freshly planted tulip bed. My calloused hands pressed together in prayer--asking God to send my love to the man I married fifteen years ago. After drying my eyes on the sleeve of his tattered blue flannel shirt, I saw a blurry hand print smudged from the other side of the pane. Someone had been there, looking in.