The Mag has posted another writer’s prompt:
And here’s my response:
The Power of Hands
Jayne left the ward, tired to the bone after a long night, wanting nothing more than to get to her bed and sleep. Glorious sleep, that hopefully would wipe out the memories of the night. As she walked toward the tunnel to the nursing students’ residence, tears pricked at the back of her eyes, and she fought to keep them in check. Mrs. Smythe had lived a long and fruitful life – raised four wonderful children who were all now professionals, worked right beside her politician husband who continued to be a mover and shaker in the community, volunteered at several charities right until this recent hospitalization, kind and giving and gracious even in her pain – but this was the first patient that Jayne had seen die, her first experience with calling Code Blue, the first time she’d heard the words ‘Call it – 0247’, the first witness of family grief. She felt a presence, and then somebody – Jock – took her hand and just held it.
The two of them walked along the beach, wind in their hair, sun making their eyes squint, waves rushing and roaring, sea gulls screeching, sand squishing between their toes. They talked, they laughed, they teased, they planned. The future held nothing but good things for them, marriage, family, building a physician practice, a home for the two of them - then a few of them - and all their family and friends to love and laugh and learn. Jock took her hand, and swung it with the joy of it all.
Jayne shook with excitement – nothing of anxiety or fear in this day – and checked herself in the mirror one last time. All was perfect. The knock came at the door, and it opened and her dad poked his head around, ‘Ready, my dear? Oh, don’t you look beautiful!’ He hugged her and tucked her hand in his arm and led her to the church foyer where the bridesmaids were all lined up. The bouquet was put in her hands, and the music swelled. When their turn came Jayne and her father stepped in to the church to see all the smiling faces turned to them. Jayne only had eyes for the face at the front, Jock waiting for her. He looked so far away, and yet so near. As they got to the front of the church, she felt her father move her left hand from his arm, move the bouquet from the right to her left hand, and gently move her toward Jock, who turned with her to face the pastor, taking her right hand and giving it a squeeze of excitement.
Jayne waited at the window, watching every car light as it came down the street, emotions tumbling through her. Tears rolled down her cheeks as joy, excitement, trepidation, numbness, anxiety, all vied for top spot. In the end anxiety won out – how was Jock going to take this news? When at last the car lights turned into their driveway, Jayne couldn’t move. She wanted to jump with joy, but there was so much to think about, first and foremost, how to tell Jock. The garage door hummed its way up and back down again, the laundry room door clicked open and closed again, shoes clunked to the floor, jacket swished as it came off and was hung on its peg, soft shushing footsteps came through the kitchen, then Jock’s voice ‘Jayne, where are you?’ Jayne couldn’t find her voice. And then Jock’s shadow was at the door to the bedroom. ‘Hey, honey, are you okay? Why is it so dark in here?’ His hand reached out and flipped the light switch, and the instant he saw her face anxiety flooded his. He crossed the room, sat on the arm of the chair, reached for her hand and caressed it. As the numbness wore off, she was finally able to blurt out: ‘It’s twins, Jock, we’re going to have two babies, two of them, at the same time, growing together, how will we ever do it?’ And Jock just held her hand.
Two-year-olds Mick and Mhairi ran across the grass, laughing and shouting, making sure the world around them knew how much fun they were having. First summer picnic, grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins – fried chicken, potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, wieners and marshmallows to roast, chocolate cake and apple pie – frisbee and football – sing-song with Uncle Jake on his guitar. Life was wonderful! Then Mhairi stumbled, probably over her own feet, and almost landed on her face. Mick reached out and took her hand in both of his, all of his strength used to hold her up and keep her on her feet.
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