The dad reaches for the little boy’s hand as they approach the grocery store doors, but just as he takes it, the boy pulls away and walks a step ahead.

Ian reaches up to the curls at his forehead, first one finger, then two, then his entire hand working into the mass, twirling, twisting – the same gesture since babyhood – coiling his hair, eyelids drooping. His tell.

The mother picks up the toddler from her car seat. The girl’s hand reaches around her mother’s shoulder and grabs her bra strap and holds on.

A girl kneels by a casket, her hands clasped in prayer. Her father lies there, still and serene. He brought only joy into her life; safety and love. She knows she’s supposed to pray, but she doesn’t know what for. Her hands tighten their grip on each other, her nails dig in to the knuckles – the pain feels right. 

The woman’s aged hands shake – tremble – ever so slightly as she reaches for the handle on the machine to perform the exercise. It doesn’t slow her down; it won’t stop her from getting strong.

Ian holds the neck of the viola in one hand, the bow in the other. He brings them together, guiding the bow over the strings, making music. I am in awe.

On Laura’s wrist, just above her left hand, is a tattoo of her daughter’s name. Permanently inscribed. 

His hand reached for mine, finally – finally it was him reaching for me and not the other way around. I gave him my hand, and he slid on the ring and said the words and held on.

My hand cramps as I hold the pen – even 10 minutes brings some discomfort. But I’ll keep it moving on the page, determined not to stop until the timer rings.


My house is full of hands -- cast iron, ceramic, resin -- and three sets of flesh and bone. I'm fascinated by hands, and the miracles they perform. My hands write blogs at www.semawray.com