Writing prompt: FICKLE
They’re fugly—fickle and ugly, my hands.
I rest them on the table-top, and in the warm overhead light of the restaurant, my fingers look like tree roots, misaligned joints , missing nails, left thumb like a claw, the right missing.
I fold and re-fold the napkin and make a lotus, the way my mother taught me when I was five, and not yet begun to dream of becoming a pugilist. But my fingers muck it up. The lotus looks like a mace with knobs.
There she is now in her high-necked black dress, looking as if just back from a vacation, and not from a twelve-hour day at work. I know because my men kept watch, telescopes trained through her window as she typed, took print-outs, crumpled sheets.
She comes here each Friday to dine with her husband, who works upstairs at a bank.
I fist my hands together when she walks in, and shove them under the table. I make myself invisible. Behind me, my guard does not tense, he has come to expect it. I finger the stub of my right thumb, rubbing it to the muted Tchaikovsky playing somewhere in the background.
She does not know what I look like, but she knows me better than most people. I can’t mess this up— she’s my shrink. She can pick up a story from the lowering of a voice on the phone, a breath held back. She keeps madness at bay.
Her throat rises and falls as she drinks iced water from a sweating glass. She orders the usual red wine and settles down to wait. I rake my twisted fingers on my throat, getting up to leave before her husband comes in.
My hands are fickle. Can’t trust them around people and their throats.
My guard follows me out a side door. Turning, I see a welcoming smile bloom on her face. I walk into the chill of the night air, my unfortunate hands in my pocket.
I’m tweeting A to Z posts at #atozchallenge. And there’s also the Twitter A toZ Challenge Daily.
Thanks and shout-outs to organisers Arlee Bird (Tossing It Out) , Jeffrey Beesler’s (World of the Scribe), Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh) , Jen Daiker ( Unedited), Candace Ganger (The Misadventures in Candyland) , Karen J Gowen (Coming Down the Mountain) , Talli Roland , Stephen Tremp (Breakthrough Blogs )