Monday, March 15, 2010

Hands: A Magpie Tale

Sophie had always loved her hands from the time she was a little girl.  They were long and slender, without a single blemish to mar their beauty.  At age 8, Sophie started playing the piano.  Her teacher, Mrs. Bergdahl, drilled her for hours on scales.  Most students despised the dreaded scales but Sophie loved them because lightly skimming her fingers over the 88 keys showed off the fluid elegance of her hands. 

As she became a young woman Sophie continued to exhibit grace and style, but the thing people remarked on most frequently were her hands.  Not for her, the gloves that everyone else wore... they would cover her best asset.  She was animated whenever she spoke, moving her hands to emphasize each thought.  All eyes were drawn to the slender fingers dancing in the air.

And then one day, it all came to an end.  Sophie was out for a drive with her beau, when the Packard in which they were riding was struck by an oncoming truck.  In an instant, the hands that had once been the center of Sophie's world were crushed, never again to dance across piano keys or to grace a thought.   Her beau, distraught at the pain he had caused, moved away.  She never saw him again.

As the years passed, Sophie withdrew into herself.  She seldom left home.  The whispers at the club were full of pity for the girl of the elegant and eloquent hands, now silenced forever.  Or were they?   

After a time, Sophie began to listen once again to the rhythm of the world around her.  She began to long for human contact, for conversation.  She began going to concerts, her mangled hands now encased in the finest of kid gloves.  Slowly, so slowly, she began to reanimate, to rejoin the world that she had lost.

A gentleman approached her one evening at the theater.  His name was Matthew.  He had been watching her from afar and asked if he could join her after the concert.  They went for coffee and talked into the wee hours.  It turned out he was an artist who worked in wood.  They talked of their lives, their passions and their hopes.  The longer they talked, the more animated Sophie became, but she never spoke of her hands.  She never removed her gloves, her armor against broken dreams.  But the hands themselves began to move again, to punctuate thoughts with a gesture, a subtle movement that brought home a point as Sophie spoke.

Sophie and the woodworker began to meet more frequently and one day they met in the park.  Spring had just arrived and the world seemed full of possibilities.  Her gentleman guided Sophie to a bench where he knelt before her.  He opened a box which he had been carrying under his arm.  There was no ring inside, no diamond to profess his love for Sophie.  Instead there was something much more precious... a hand.  An elegant hand, carved of the finest cherry wood.

Matthew had discerned that which was most important to Sophie, that which she thought she had lost.  In it, he had captured her essence.  And her answer was, "Yes."

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Please visit Magpie Tales to see how other writers have interpreted this week's photo prompt!

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