The Hand or the Heart



This is another section From my Nanowrimo project “Dream State”

This is a memory scene told in first person.

The Visit


I heard the text notification sound of my phone. I was sitting at the keyboard of my computer, supposedly writing but doing a lot more coffee sipping and staring off into space than “tap tap tapping” more drivel onto the screen. It was only 8:00 in the morning.

Since the number of people that text me is exactly four, by the process of elimination I knew who it was. Barring some grand emergency it wasn’t the kids. They were in the city with their mother for the weekend and since she never grew up either they would have been up till dawn and should be sleeping till noon. That left only one of two women that used the text machine to call me, and one of them was in my bed just around the corner. I had just checked on her a few minutes ago, something I would do repeatedly until she woke. She had been sleeping deeply and had a tiny little smile on her lips. I liked that smile.

I reached for my phone and stood to go out on the porch. I don’t why I did it but instead of going out to answer the beep, I lay the phone back down and walked into my bedroom instead. I stood in the doorway staring at the pretty blond as she held tightly to my pillow. She was still asleep, not surprising since she had arrived just before midnight and we had been up till sometime after three. I should have been answering my message, instead I stared. They say that all people have two faces, the one they show the world and the one they show the mirror. At that moment I wore my mirror face. At that moment I wanted nothing more than to crawl back into that bed and hold her. I had seen her hidden face late last night when she arrived and it reminded me too much of the one I see at two in the morning when the rational side of my brain can no longer hold back the memories I never visit willingly.

We hadn’t planned to see each other till next weekend, she is a trauma nurse and was on the three to eleven shift this week to cover her friend who was on vacation. In the five months that we had been seeing each other I had learned quickly how hard it was on her to work that shift. Around here, in the deplorable flyover world of the South, the trauma wards saw mostly the results of stupidity. In the cities, there were the results of crime, passion, and simply evil people. They saw their share of stupidity, but compared to the other acts of human hatred they were few in number. Here though, deep in the land of cotton, economic deprivation often mixed with human weakness and the result was stupidity on a grand scale. Unemployed young men, a society that hates them and alcohol fueled adventurism does not mix well with logging trucks and curvy country roads. The results were always horrific but on the weekends, when school was out, the horror took on all new dimensions as the broken bodies of children paid the price for someone elses desperation.

When Bella and I had met for a lunch date a few days ago she had been her usual perky self. When she had texted late last night I knew that it had been a bad one. She asked if she could come over for a minute, but I knew better. Something had reached into her and twisted, I could see it in the words, in how her always meticulously spelled phrases and precise language faltered into misspelled and abbreviated text. Knowing why something is does not mean knowing how to respond. I simply texted back “Sure Bella, the kids are in the city so just bring your overnight if you want.”

It would be about a fifteen minute drive for her to get here from the hospital in the town just south of me. Since I had been in the bed watching the news and reading posts on the internet, my logical mind was already asleep. It usually does that when I open up my social media program. That side of my intellect has long since abandoned reason in favor of the delusion my admittedly overly romantic emotional side has nestled itself comfortably inside. Over thinking has always been an issue with me, from reading Bella’s emotional state from a handful of black letters on a screen to reading far too much into a lot of black letters on a screen from Cheri. I obviously have major mental issues with words. I wonder if that is a good thing for a writer? I know for certain that it sucks for a man, but it seems to me to be a useful trait when trying to put feelings into a flat, emotionless medium.

I put on pajama pants and got out a bottle of wine I keep for her. After reloading my bourbon glass and setting both on the nightstand I turned off the news and the lights, leaving the small lamp as the only light in the bedroom. With the strains of “You and Tequila” playing softly in the background I heard her car pull up.

She had changed from her scrubs into the extra clothes she kept at work. Her hair was still slightly damp from the shower and hung limp down her shoulders. I felt the dampness in the low light of the living room when she threw her arms around my neck in a death grip that told me everything I needed to know. I wrapped my arms around her and held just as tightly, the hot drop of a tear crossed from her cheek to mine, carrying away a tiny part of her burden and allowing me to help her carry it. After a few moments she took my hand and led me to the bedroom. At the edge, she grab on tightly again, throwing her adrenaline fueled passion at me in a frenzied flurry of kisses and bites. Her body was screaming for a way to release the stress it had induced to carry her through whatever it was she had seen. The adrenaline and fight or flight response that the brain dumps into the body to combat danger had overloaded her with pent up energy and she needed a way to burn it out and her body drove her passion like a race car uses a turbo charger. I was happy to oblige, I fed on her passion and like oxygen on a spark, the flames rose higher. Clothes flew, lips crashed together, the marks would last for days and her co workers would tease her until they faded, mine would offer high fives and my kids would shake their heads in embarrassment. Things were just about to get really intense when I saw the reflection of tears still falling from her cheeks and making dark, wet spots on the pillows. She couldn’t stop crying, even in the fire of lust, the pain and fear fell freely from her.

I slowed, God knows that I did not want to, I had a beautiful woman nearly twenty years younger than me doing her dead level best to get me to screw her brains out and all I could see is that it wasn’t her body that needed relief. Whatever had happened had done far more than just dump a plethora of chemicals that needed an energetic outlet into her bloodstream. The one benefit of living long enough to be despised for living so long is that you learn the difference between want and need. What Bella wanted was an end to the chaotic emotional and physical rollercoaster her body was going through. That one is easy, the body has no better pressure valve than a good hard round between the sheets. That is what her body was screaming for, a way to release the pressure and expend the energy that had built to intolerable levels.

That was what her body wanted. What Bella needed was something very different. Her heart was broken at the same time that her body was overloaded to cope with whatever had reached in deeply enough to break something inside her. The body wants satisfaction now and since the heart has no voice the body demands immediate attention. The heart requires time and patience. Quieting the body by tending it’s wants does nothing to repair the damage, it is an aspirin, a temporary relief that allows the real injury to fester in painless comfort until it explodes in an inconsolable outburst.

I leaned down and she tried to pull me into her, but I held back and gently changed tactics. This wasn’t my first rodeo with her body. I knew where the paths to her heart began just as well as I knew the path to her lust. She tried again to rush it, her body did not lightly take backseat to her heart. But the heart always wins, everything really begins there and everything worthwhile always ends up back there. A man just has to learn the path. I followed it, from the starting point under her ear and the soft whisper of the only words we would exchange for hours, from the tease at her lips and down her throat to the valley between her breasts. My hands led the way, telling her where my lips would go next, assuring her that what she wanted would be hers in time. By the time I reached her delicate inny, where self began for all of us, she had begun to calm. I followed the path to her heart, from her belly to her hips, down past her center to the inside of her thighs and further. That little spot behind her knee, that was the one that tipped her over. I watched her face as I worked down past her calf to her ankle and across the fine skin of the top of her tiny foot. I saw her head burrow down into the pillows as she gently arched her back, thrusting her chest up and her butt down. Now she was calmed, her body had relaxed enough to allow her heart to begin to feel again, to reach out past the sorrow and embrace something outside again. She was back in the game now, she could feel beyond the moment and the racing blood of uncontrolled energy. The tears were gone and the fire could now be rekindled to an even higher flame. I let her direct me to where she wanted attention, the look on her face becoming more beautifully impassioned at every stop along the way back to her heart.


Bella still slept, she murmured something and a pained look crossed her face. She pulled my pillow tighter to her body, the same way she had pulled me to her last night. A lock of her hair fell across her eyes but I still saw the faint trace of a peaceful smile come back to her lips. I walked back to the coffee pot and added more to my cup. I intended to go out now and reply to Cheri, but instead of going into the sun and sitting in my chair to talk to her, I stood in the doorway again, looking at Bella in her sleep.

She had rolled over onto her back, her hair making a whitish yellow spray against the grey pillows and sheets. The quilt had twisted off her upper body exposing her naked breasts to the cool of the morning. The results were spectacular, to say the least. Despite the very interesting view, I knew that my mind was still in question mode, though other parts began to clamor for attention. I gently covered her with the quilt. I could wait, when she woke she would want the same thing I did. That animal need to satisfy something inside the human body that demands an affirmation of life. That primal scream of here I am, see me! would be answered.

I could wait. What my body wanted would have to take a backseat for now.

I stepped out onto the porch and typed “Cher! How are you this morning, sweetheart?”


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