In her open palm she saw the world. The earth laid out before her eyes, the valleys and the hills. Parallel lines like the furrows of farmers’ tilled fields. And when a single tear fell onto the fields there came a flood. The water and the salt found deeps into which to settle and to flow along.
Light from the window she sat beside bleached the landscape of her small world into a white expanse. All detail was gone until a cloud, a single cloud drifted in front of the sun’s glowing intensity and plunged the landscape once more, into all its complex patterns.
“Anna, I have your tea” a voice said.
“Thank you, Maha, please put it over there and sit with me.”
Maha sat. Anna reached for her hand and drew it into her lap. Maha did not speak. She sensed no words were needed.
When Anna laid Maha’s palm open on her lap she gazed at it. With a finger she stroked it. Maha flinched. Reflex. Instinct. And then she relaxed.
Anna peered closely at her Maha’s hand, as brown as a leaf in autumn. She saw how the lines flowed, the hills and the valleys, like her own but as various as the lands of the earth. She thought how it was made, by love. She thought how it had grown and the hills and the valleys grown along with it.
This hand, as her own, had felt warmth and coldness, hard and unforgiving surfaces, rough and smooth. This hand had held other hands, the hills and valleys creating tunnels and caves in darkness then parting, bringing back the light.
Maha’s hand had held her own as they had walked these six months through halls and on beaches, across restaurant tables and in sleep. Maha’s hand had explored and glided along Anna’s own hills and valleys, at night, in the morning, chill and cool, just before the first light bathed their room in its golden beams.
Anna gazes at Maha’s hand upon her lap. A single tear falls onto the fields and finds the deeps into which to settle and to flow along.
When she raises her head to gaze upon Maha’s sweet face, there are tears in her eyes also. Anna rests her head on Maha’s shoulder. Maha rest her hand upon Anna’s golden hair. Together they feel the gentle rays of morning sun, and breathe.
The tea has gone cold. They do not notice.