The Word: Grain
Lizette held his hand, stroked it, up and down up and down, as they watched an old Cary Grant flick. Greg gritted his teeth. She was a beautiful girl, but her fingers were restless, they could not just stay still in his hand, but insisted on stroking him as if he were her cat–a 17 year old greeneyed animal whom she could mindlessly caress for hours.
It wouldn’t be so bad, this little touch, but she confined it to one selected spot, tracing a figure, over and over again. Sometimes it was his neck, or his arm, or an inch or two of his chest, his bare leg. He loved Lizette, but this obsessive one-fingered caress rubbed him against the grain, until he wanted to slap her hand like a crawling insect.
But that would be misconstrued.
She would be upset, she would cry.
How could he tell her to stop it, after all this time?
He’d asked her early on. told her she could just hold his hand, rest it on his arm, she didn’t have to do anything. But she’d forgotten. Her hands liked to do what they liked to do.
They sat on the sofa, watching To Catch a Thief, Cary Grant as a retired cat burglar, exchanging acres of smooth repartee with a radiant Grace Kelly. While Lizette rubbed his forearm along the top sinew, up and down, up and down, until it was raw.
What would Cary do if Grace rubbed him against the grain?
Greg took Lizette’s hand and pressed it between his. A loving gesture. The right thing. She smiled. His Lizette. He was able to get through the next ten minutes of the film just enjoying the wit of the writing and the glamour of those great stars, sitting with his woman.
But then, somehow she worked a finger free, and began tracing a design on his palm, tickling, irritating.
Was his ardor for her cooling? Was that it?
No, he adored her. Lizette cared. She listened. She was sexy. She never thought he should be different than he was. She was hot for him. She didn’t mind the way he snored, or washed dishes, his taste for old Zappa and Beefheart.
But sometimes he’d like to break her fingers, so she would stop doing this.
He tried to imagine Cary Grant, and Grace Kelly, together after this movie was over. She’d have moved into his place, a sweet pad overlooking the Corniche. Or maybe they’d buy a yacht, whatever. Anyway, they’d be lying together on the deck, the boat swaying in a warm Mediterranean night, and she would be doing this to him, rubbing three square inches on the inside of his arm.
What would he do? Swat her? Tell her she’s wearing a hole in his skin?
But he knew what Cary would do. He’d pluck her hand from his arm, kiss the palm and figure he was a lucky schmo to have Grace Kelly. He would suck it up. Cary Grant was no putz.
He put his arm around her and drew her close, the smell of her hair, the shape of her cheek. The Corniche glowed in her liquid eyes.
Part of a semi-weekly series of short short stories based on a writing exercise, The Word. “Inspired by a simple word, chosen at random, write a two-page double-spaced story, using the Word at least once.”
Next week’s word is: SNOW