Since moving to LA, I've met all kinds of incredibly interesting people and some of them happen to be aspiring actresses, musicians and even writers. Well, one friend in particular, Daisy, already is an amazing writer and I asked her over the weekend to write something for me to include in last week's The Red Dress Club's writing meme, Red Writing Hood. The prompt was to write a piece that begins with the line, "I could never have imagined" and ends with the line, "Then the whole world shifted." I am so touched at what Daisy has written and can't wait to read more of her work.
So, without further ado, here is "Hot Hands":
I could never have imagined how warm a man could be. I don’t mean metaphorically warm, though he was, particularly when he tired of showing off, of talking faster than most people listened. Then he’d have time for a slow smile, for me.
He was warm to the touch, as if in constant fever. I was always cold, especially my hands. He noticed the first time he held them in his hot ones. I muttered an old kernel I kept for such moments with men: “Cold hands, warm heart.”
“What does that make me?” he asked. No one had ever asked that.
“Hot hands….” I started.
“I’ll win,” he said, facing his palms toward the sky. I hovered mine above his, the space between narrow as a matchbook. I’d moved not an inch before he hit, his hands stretched taut so they smacked noisily, reddening my skin.
We met just as the weather was getting colder, at a karaoke bar, where I ate chicken wings while he sang tunelessly a song best left to sopranos. He walked me to my car, smoked three cigarettes with me only, he later confessed, to stay close. I leaned on his shoulder, he switched the smoke to his left hand so he could enclose me with his right. He talked too fast even then, perhaps from nerves, about something I forgot as soon as he spoke.
Weeks later, in his bed, I’d curl from cold, knees to chin, and he would wrap around me. My hands would find his chest, or his stomach, his hottest parts, and my feet would lie flat across his thighs. In only moments I would hear his breath grow long and low, feel his arm sink heavily on my waist, watch in near-dark his lips part. If I couldn’t fall asleep and wanted him awake, for company, for whispers, I’d say, “Where’s your mouth?”, and start to kiss blindly whatever skin I met. He’d laugh himself awake. In one of these liminal moments he told me he loved me, and I never believed him , even if the words made me feel still warmer, more tightly enclosed. He was always self-contained. He didn’t need me.
We spent all our nights this way, as close as we could be, reaching some shared temperature, the slightest high, until the weather thawed. Then we were a tangle of discarded blankets, outstretched limbs. I’d turn my back to him, inching to the edge of the bed. Neither of us spoke after lying down, not a good night, not an I love you, not a where’s your mouth.
It was a summer night when he told me he was seeing someone else. We were flat on our backs in his bed, apart, staring at the ceiling.
“Who?” I asked.
He whispered a name I knew. She had small hands, dwarf hands, the temperature of which I did not know.
“Why?” I asked.
“You don’t love me,” he said.
“You don’t love me,” I said.
“I did,” he said.
I sat up and swung one leg over him so we were face to face, and I was above him. His heat hit my thighs. I put my long left hand around his throat, gently, felt him swallow, felt his stubble. I smiled.
“What does she feel like?” I asked.
He didn’t answer. I might have screamed it. I felt blood in my face and in all my limbs, a movement, a fury. I straightened my right hand and drew its fingers taut. I pulled my arm back and swung it down, my palm hitting his cheekbone, hard and loud, reddening his skin. I broke into sweat and heavy breaths and pulled back my strange hand and lifted myself off him. I was burning. The whole world shifted.