There’s a kind of magic in my husband’s hands.
Strong, tender and dependably warm, they are the same hands that have been unreservedly open each and any day for nearly a decade as I return to them over and over for love, solace and rest.
They are hands that snake through the bed sheets at night to seek me out as I free-fall into sleep, pulling me a little closer in the dark.
They are hands that tangle their way into my hair, encouraging my always-overthinking-it head onto a waiting shoulder and affectionately tugging at my ear.
At the end of a long day, they are hands that romp across the arches of my grateful feet and pull at my toes and press in just slightly too deep to my bound-up calf muscles so it’s good, but bad, but good—all at once.
They are the hands that brew my morning coffee and set it on my bedside table each day so I can emerge bleary-eyed but hopeful from my sleep, buoyed by the promise of caffeine.
They are the hands that bear the thick ring with which I wedded him, ornate and half-covered in diamonds (but only half-covered, mind you, so as not to be entirely ostentatious). A perfect representation of his taste and style.
“It’s just so him,” I think when it catches the light on his finger.
They are the same hands that he sets to work every day; tap, tap, tapping over a backlit keyboard to conjure his very thoughts into creation, an enterprising labor of love driven by the unheard voices in his head that tell him to keep going, for him, for us, despite all apparent odds.
They are the hands that helped build our first house, constructing cupboards and demolishing walls among much gusty cursing. Hands that were offered up as sacrifice for our home, bearing the brunt of the occasional mishandled tool straying too far from its allotted task.
They are hands I have witnessed quite literally choking a man to submission in a sanctioned competitive fight as I screamed support from the sidelines; hands I know would do that again in a heartbeat to fiercely protect me if the need ever arose, but hands that I wholeheartedly trust will never turn on me.
They are hands that fondle that velvety part under my chin as they lift my face to his for a kiss.
Hands that interlace through mine as we cross the street, holding me close to his side with a reassuring squeeze.
Hands that tickle me as I squirm in protest, raising joy to my lips—just so he can see me smile.
My husband’s hands are hands that trace lazy circles on my back with gentle fingertips as I curl on his lap for a moment of human connection in an otherwise virtual workday.
They are the hands I imagine rocking our future children to sleep.
I thrill at how small our babies will be, how secure and well they will feel in this world while they are safeguarded by his touch. How unflinching and heroic he will seem from such innocent eyes.
They are the hands I lift to my lips in reverence in the moments I am grateful for him, raining kisses onto fingertips, and pressing my cheek into the warm cradle of his palm.
They are hands that, despite their brawn, are put to use rewiring my computer’s insides or my car’s stereo, patiently laying out infinitesimal screws and fuses one at a time for hours until the task is done. Acts of service he does to demonstrate how deep his love runs.
They are hands that turn a deep nut-brown in the summer heat, with no encouragement whatsoever.
They are calm, capable, steady hands that never get clammy (unless you mention roller coasters). We all have our Achilles heel.
They are cadenced musician’s hands that tap a paradiddle rhythm on my knee under café tables.
They are the same hands that sent a jolt through my spine at our very first handshake, hands that sparked one of those moments when your world tilts off its axis and your future is forever changed.
They are the same hands that keyed pages of flirtatious emails back and forth for months of our courtship, the very same hands that he offered up for a massage the night our love story begins.
They are healing hands.
They are hands not just reserved for me but also for hundreds of others who—sometimes seemingly miraculously—become well beneath their skilled touch, beneath hair-fine needles guided into just the right points, beneath the improbability of a Chinese soupspoon rubbed at just the right angle.
They are hands proficient in ancient healing arts I don’t understand, but that I can feel. Others can too.
So much of my husband is anchored in those two hands. So much of my life is anchored in those two hands.
Whatever happens for us, they are hands I want to hold until they are soft and papery like crèpe.
And I know even then, that these hands of his will still be strong, tender and dependably warm.
Author: Emma Merkas
Editor: Alli Sarazen
Photo: Craig Sunter/Flickr