We’re in my convertible on our way home from Brooke’s adaptive dance class. The top is down as we soak in every drop of yet another in a glorious series of unseasonably warm mornings.
Despite the fact that she had a great time in class, she seems out of sorts.
I reach over and cup my hand beneath her chin. Usually, she’d stick her tongue out and we’ll laugh. Instead, she recoils.
A few minutes later, I reach for her forearm. I squeeze it, careful to be firm, knowing too light a touch can be torture.
“Please don’t touching me,” she says.
“Sorry,” baby,” I say. “I won’t.”
She curls her entire body toward the door.
“You okay?” I ask.
“Just not feeling so cuddly today?” I ask.
She doesn’t say anything, but her body has already answered the question.
“That’s okay,” I say. “It’s funny though, I’m feeling super huggy today. But I’ll keep my hands to myself, promise!”
I put both hands on the wheel and hum along with the radio as I wait for the light to change.
Without a word, she reaches over and puts an arm across my shoulder. Her fingers, never truly still, dance ever so softly on the back of my neck.
I am overwhelmed by the raw, pure, unadulterated generosity of the act – of HER.
“Thank you, baby,” I say.
A single tear, overripe with gratitude, escapes.
She takes her hand back to let it float in the wind.