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Twist Me Up

by Sara Harricharan  
2/20/2008 / Short Stories

I'm sitting by the window again. Wondering when the pain will end. I feel as if I'm trapped again, thanks to your forgotten pen.

My hands can't move to write the words. To empty my head of this ancient urge. I want so badly to be free of this, but somehow, I'm still stitting here.

Hands are useless if you can't feed yourself. If you can't eat, you die. Unless there are hands to feed you.

I would give almost anything for my hands. To have them working again, to be rid of the pain, the agony, this sheer torture.

Do you remember what my hands could do? They were slim and soft. I could write, paint or draw. I was your little artist.

You loved to see me at work, cramped up in the tiny office, taking my mind to a home away from home. You said I inspired you.

When I felt stuck, I reached for chapstick. The cherry one that you'd always buy for me. I was inspired just thinking of you. From your crooked smile to the gold pocketwatch. To think that you would remember the little things kept me going. It felt good to feel loved.

And popcicles. My most precious memories surround the afternoons where a popcicle made the world all right again. Not the drippy ones on the stick, the ones that you could turn up. You know I loved you.

I loved curling irons. Even though it made a mess of my hair. I never trusted anyone but you to cut it. You knew it too. I never thought I'd marry my hairdresser. How did you talk me into it? Your hands were so gentle, so right. You knew how to twist the frizziness into something pretty.

What changed?

What happened to us that you can't bear to look me in the eyes? That I can't stand to see you go. That we spend more nights apart than together.

I know I've changed. I don't pretend otherwise. I can't help feeling the way I do. You tell me I'm not a hinderance, how am I supposed to believe you? When I hear what you don't mean to say.

It is hard to get up and go to work every morning. I know. I did it. For seventeen years. Go ahead, twist me up.

Slaving away at a corporate giant wasn't the life I wanted. We needed the money. I needed you. When the stove exploded, I knew your hands wouldn't be the same again. I promised they'd get better. Like the chapstick we had in common, since our first date. Each tube held more love than the one before. You don't buy it for me anymore. It's barely a dollar down at the drugstore. The same one you should go to for milk. They have it cheaper than the grocery store.

It is hard to keep the house clean, entertain guests and throw your own birthday party. I know. I did it. For seventeen years. Go ahead, twist me up.

I would spend weeks looking for the perfect outfit. Weeks where I could only spare a half hour at a time. Once I'd found the best bargain, I'd let you do my hair. You used to buy new hair clips-from that boutique near the courthouse. It's been two years since the last set.

It is hard to ignore a perfect sunset. I know. I've been watching them escape me these past two years. Go ahead, darling. Twist me up.

Your footsteps are coming down the apartment hall. You're tired. I can hear it in your sigh.

I would run and open the door for you, but the wheelchair gets stuck in the entry way. I wish I could hug you, kiss you and hold you. Wish you happy nineteenth anniversary.

If only my hands could move.

Your shadow tempts me from the doorway. For once, your face looks happy. I want to ask what happened, but my lips are sworn to silence.

"Happy Anniversary." You say, kneeling in front of my wheelchair. "I had the strangest thing...happen. I couldn't stop thinking of you." You clasp my hands in yours. "I started to think and...I know we've drifted apart. It's not your fault. We both changed. But at the same time. We couldn't be there for each other. I want to change that. Will you let me?"

I blink back tears that fall anyway. Your scarred hands brush them aside. You set your sweatshirt on my lap. You've tied it into a bundle.

Patient hands undo the knot and your tokens of love adorn my lap. A tube of cherry chapstick, a pair of beaded barrettes, a box of orange popcicles and a receipt.

My eyes ask the question I can't think of. "It's a voice recorder." You say, ripping open the box of popcicles. "You still have your voice, some feeling in your feet and plenty of attitude." You wink.

I smile.

"There will be a switch to activate it-with your feet. You can record anything you want and I've worked it out, so that my niece-Carolyn? You remember her? She's going to college and needs a place to stay. She'll be happy to keep you company. I know it's hard to sit here all day by yourself, with only the nurse to check in every few hours."

"My voice sounds awful." I choke out, waiting as you clear my lap and reach to take me in your arms. "Where are we going?"

"To the balcony." You say, tucking the popcicles between my hands. "To watch the sunset. We haven't given ourselves a chance, love. Your voice, it is part of the beauty of your spirit. You mustn't neglect it because you cannot express it like before."

It can't be easy for you to tell me this. I know. I've lived with our silence for two years. The evening sun is dancing on my cheeks. I feel your warmth and draw my strength from it. Go ahead, twist me up, I am replacing this bitterness...with hope.

Sara Harricharan is a young Christian woman with a passion for writing for the Lord through faith-filled Science Fiction/Fantasy stories and pure words.

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