It’s the memory of her hands, pulling landscapes out of the keyboard. Dancing fireflies, eager children, tumble over each other to play. A haste without clumsiness, a speed of humming birds blurred in their passionate movement.
Later, the same slender hands, fingers deft and long, flash in the approach and recede of headlights on the freeway, click CDs in and out of the car deck. We go through five CDs in a ten minute ride. Raï to techno to a Scriabin prelude she calls “the most beautiful piece of music ever written.”
I, musical subliterate, will not remember the sounds. But I will never forget how her hands cut melody lines out of air, sharp and precise as a tailor turned sword-warrior.
It’s the memory of those hands, the beauty of their velocity, set against my body’s memory of how they feel. I never see them when they work, in and under, layer by layer, lift my scapulae off my ribs as a chef lifts fillets off bones of a trout. She tells me knots are muscle cells locked into contraction, a thought the tissue won’t let go. I follow her finger on musculo-skeletal charts, trace the pathway of my body’s roadblocks. We map the work to be done.
Her fingers follow my breath into the tightness. Hard. Dense. Her fingers melt my breath to water that seeps into each tiny crevice. She pushes the clenched cell memory to a point of pain that’s unbearable. I gulp. Behind squeezed, stinging eyelids, I chant: three seconds more, don’t fight it, three seconds more. Then. The muscle gives. Cells release to smooth and long. Her hands coax comfort down the joints, smooth waves of heat across my back and belly.
Now I watch her hands, and they do to my mind, in their motion, what they do to my body in their slow, strong labor. Pull what’s tight. Work it. Untwist a shimmering cord up from my gut to my throat. Starlings dive bomb off my diaphragm into the canyon of my pelvis.
She shows me what hands become, when they release fear and greed. She shows me what hands can do when they channel knowledge with no barrier. Her hands? Are what it looks like to live without hesitation, without withholding. Her hands are a symphony of all the energies, every meridian open and running, silver with leaping salmon.
I look at my own hands. I want to lay them to hers, palm to palm, finger to finger. I want my hands to learn what hers know. I want to watch her play that prelude, as she played her own compositions for me. Her whole body a distillation of fierce joy. Her whole body an arc of surrendered energy.