How to hold your hand by flood
It should be simple.
It’s a natural expression of human closeness and affection, after all. A symbolic gesture of trust and togetherness - the joining of two hands as one to indicate the joining of two spirits together. No, stop, rethink. That’s too much, too fast, too soon. People don’t think like that, normal people don’t think this way and search for the meaning and utility and possibility in every gesture.
Even children can manage this. The smallest children, tiny things whose brains have not yet formed completely and who cannot even begin to think for themselves know how to reach out and take the hand of one they love. It’s an instinct that is embedded into every human, and yet now it seems the most insurmountable of tasks. What if the gesture is not welcome, after all? What if it’s too forward, what if it’s not what grown men do with each other? The social waters are difficult enough to navigate at the best of times, but this is unexplored territory that offers countless dangers and obstacles. This small space on the couch - hardly more than a foot or two - is suddenly an endless distance filled with hesitation and worry.
He wouldn’t be offended, would he? No, of course he wouldn’t be. Would he?
John is the one who hugs people, who touches them, who freely shows his emotions to the rest of the world. Would he find this strange? This sudden gesture of humanity? It is so radically out of character, and yet…
Nothing for it then. Nothing for it but to take a breath, take the plunge, and inch a hand slowly across the cushion. Slowly now, slowly. Wouldn’t do to move too quickly, or too suddenly. It must seem natural, unpracticed, real. Isn’t this how people move? Oh no, he’s smiling. Oh God, he’s noticed. He’s noticed the hand coming for his, the creeping motion, the hesitating uncertainty and he - he has not moved. His hand is still there, resting so temptingly open and inviting and ready to be held. He is smiling as he pretends to read the newspaper whose page he has not turned in far too long, eyes flicking down to the hand inching steadily closer to his own. He is smiling, that small smile that has made three hundred and twenty seven previous appearances at the most random times spent together. Three hundred and twenty eight now, looking at hands that are nearly touching.
Three hundred and twenty nine, as fingertips brush with delicate hesitancy. Electric contact, a patently absurd sentiment and yet so real in this moment when John does not jerk his hand away at the sparks that seem to dance over skin. An open invitation for more, fingers curling in and welcoming a new presence that has never been felt before and yet feels perfectly natural. Hands touching, fingers tangling, skin humming with togetherness.
A new smile, seen for the first time. Perhaps, if all goes well, it might even make a second appearance.