His hand

 

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“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

The truth is he does not want to go, on the one hand, and on the other, he is going without question.  I tell him as he complains, that you must go, it is the right thing, and he says he knows, he put in the lines, he owes something to him.  He tells me this is the man who taught him the most about hunting.  I watch him now from the warmth of his truck as his hands expertly work, a test phone crooked on his shoulder.  The old man and his big headed brindle pit bull come out and stand beside him in the cold. 

I shake his hand as introductions are made and we stomp the snow off our boots without removing them as we step into the big open room, fireplace burning high, deer, moose, elk, antelope, boar heads looking down on us.  I sit in the old comfortable homey chair and the cat jumps up on me and tries to purr raspy.  He tells us we can come up and fish anytime as we stand by the fat with baby goat cage, and look at the chickens.  The dog is curious, the she goat wants nothing to do with him.

The work done.  We pull our buffs up over our ears, his with skulls and mine with monarch butterflies.  I pull mine up to my lips, wool handwarmers, under wool mittens, down parka, leggings, windbreak pants, and a skirt over top, two pairs of socks under my winter hiking boots.  It is cold, my lungs ache from the cold, breathing through the buff stops the latent and mild asthma from coming with giant bend over coughs.  I tell him he should wear a skirt, it holds the heat inside my lower half, like mittens hold the fingers warmer than gloves.  He laughs.  He would never. Man.  We walk all the way to the pond where a family skates on the hard ice, the sound of it cracking echoes on the hills.  As we head back I look at him, and he is grinning hard.  I smile back at him, this is great we say together, and he stops then and opens his arms wide, I go to him and wrap myself inside him, I have always loved this, I say.  What?  When you open your arms wide like this and invite me in.  Shut up, he says as he kisses the top of my hat.  An hour later we, somewhat more unzipped return and the old man pays in boar kidneys and other offal I will not eat. 

He wants to go to the flea market, and I go with him, because he is my best friend, because even though I hate the cold and heat and cold, and the smells and the homeless people and the sadness of the sale I go, I go.  He knows.  His eyes on me, he knows.  He helps me in the looking for what I need, holding up this, can you use it to make art, finding old pots to cook his stinking animal glue. 

And when we are in the bookstore, he goes where he goes, I go where I go, he comes to me by the magazines, then by the crafting books, his own in his hands.  He blocks my path, and I say well are we going or what, yeah, he says, after you kiss me.  I smile, he hates public displays of affection.  I know who this is for.  We sit to briefly drink our drinks, I look at his cracked and scratched and blue veined and strong calloused hand wrapped around the paper cup.  I fall in love.  I fall in love. 

We work together on our own projects, making art, and cleaning so art can be made, and coffee brought, and laundry tossed in, and the long weekend, all the teasing and the laughter, he comes to me and sits beside me as I look at the picture I took of his hand wrapped around his mug.  His arm over my shoulder.  This has been a really good weekend. 

I fall in love.  I fall in love.

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