He looked down at the hand that rested in his, reveling for a moment over all that it had done and would do. And the images came rushing like tidal waves through a hall of mirrors.

This was a hand that knew work, had grappled with hard realities, had held her wearied low-slung head when hope seemed lost, had grasped its twin in anguished prayer, had fed the hungry and hugged a friend. And it would be the hand that would caress his face when he was tired. It would gently cradle their first baby. It would wipe noses, bottoms, and tears. This hand would lovingly prepare food and would surreptitiously poke him in the side when no one was watching.

He saw its future. One day it would be small and frail, with story lines running in every direction on its silken sun kissed surface, but he saw that even then it was strong enough to hold his heart.

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