I’m working on a story. I’m not sure how long it will be or how I will share it or even if I will share the whole thing. But I thought I’d share this portion of it here and see what people thought. I’ll keep writing and you, take two minutes to read this.
I stopped at a flower store today to pick up a bouquet for the apartment. I wanted to buy some for the clinic but no flowers allowed. Apparently the smell makes the patients nauseous. Mrs. Balli was away from the stall. Finally her daughter is having the baby. Grandchild number 5 for her. An auspicious baby she tells everyone who will listen. Manning the stall was her father. A very tall man. Not shrunken and hunched over like so many men in their senior years. He looked used to hard physical work. He had strong looking arms and shoulders. Dressed in a sombre dull gray that highlighted the silver white of his beard. He had a lovely smile but there was something about the eyes. Eyes that don’t smile with the rest of the face always make me curious as to what they’re thinking. We talked about the coming baby and how lucky he was to become a great grandfather. How excited his daughter was to be a grandmother. He asked about my family. I told him they weren’t with me. When people ask and I answer like this they usually assume that the family are away or haven’t followed me yet to the new city. I don’t like the look on peoples‘ faces when they hear the story. I’d rather they just think something else. Not ‘poor Ruth’. Anything but poor Ruth. Our lovely conversation ended and he handed me two extra roses for my bundle. Red roses for my glowing cheeks. I blushed. And then we shook hands to say goodbye. But he did the strangest thing. He used the long pointy finger nail from his centre finger to scratch a line in the palm of my hand. Not the kind of line drawing that you would get from say a fortuneteller reading the lines of your hand. It was subtle but deliberate. It felt really strange. Like he was marking me. I felt a little violated. I didn’t understand what this meant or why he did it. I said goodbye a little less friendly than I had said hello. I felt the need to flee. I can’t explain the strange sensation but it didn’t sit right in my gut. It felt dirty and suggestive. That scratched feeling stuck with me for all the rest of the day. It unsettled me. I wonder if the feeling of that scratch on my hand will ever leave me? I will think of him later. When I do go to see a fortuneteller and have my palm read. She’ll open my hand to look at my lines. It will remind me of him and I will look to see if there is a mark. It’s there. Invisible. But deep in the palm, under the skin, in the memory of my hand.