by Amy Han
He has softer hands than mine. Until now, I have always been proud of my calloused jeweller’s hands – here is where the wires accidentally pierce; here the skin has hardened for better grip on findings and beads. My cuticles are rough and thick, like pumice stone. Nails kept blunt and unpolished because length gets in the way and polish doesn’t last a working session. These hands reveal who I am. I am an artist. This is how I make my living, sacrificing the softness of my own touch for the intricately adorned beauty of others. I create beauty with these hands. But he makes me want to hide the fact. His fingertips, with their soft and gentle pads, whisper across my shoulders and make me flinch. I feel the breath of them pressing into my palms and instinctively close in my fingers. He’s reaching. Fingers sliding down my arms, hands enveloping them on the way down. Like the silk scarves I use for wrapping wooden beads. He has all ten of my fingers, every rough-ended, tough, labour-enduring one. He is peeling them open, and kissing my palms. Lips pressing into the centre of the left, and then the right. I shudder.
Amy Han is a Melbourne writer who has recently published her first novel, Ru Dreaming. www.amyhan.com.au