Monday, August 21, 2006

Hands

When I was fifteen I remember going upstairs in the local library, a gallery ran around the first floor, it looked down on the shelves and reading areas and the hot, stale air of the books funnelled up into an oppressive heat. Unsurprisingly, it was used as a gallery - an art gallery. That one occasion an old woman - probably middle-aged - but old to me then was invigilating an exhibition; presumably some of the thick oil paint on the walls had been smeared by her brush. She asked me to sign the visitors book and I did. There was a soft sigh, a soft whisper of dry skin and I realised she had touched my hand. "You have such beautiful hands. Someone should draw your hands." My brain doesn't work very well with strangers at the best of times. I don't remember saying anything. I probably froze up inside my head. Now, I realise there was a subtle eroticism in that little scene, and I think not unintentional on her part. I thought nothing at the time - literally nothing. But ever since I realise a possibly lecherous old lady left me something of a gift... I've always had a special place in my erotic make-up for hands. I have always, since then, been pleased with my own hands. And there is nothing now which has so much frisson for me as the square, brittle wrists of adolescence, as mine were. The long-sinewed fingers, as mine were. And the disparity of size, like the paws of a dog, as mine were, too large on thin arms. The old woman gave another subtle overtone of narcissism to my erotic personality.

I don't remember her face now...

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