Friday, January 02, 2009

I was fortunate to have occasion to talk to a little old lady recently. She was very sweet and spoke in a warm, clear voice as her mind cast back to her younger years, and days which must seem more present with her than a moment a few hours ago. She knew what she was saying and this was clear, but sometimes, she'd hesitate an instant as she flipped through her files to produce the apt word to come next in the sentence. She is meticulous in her language, erudite and well-spoken.

I held her hand as she spoke, and she smiled at me and said my family had been kind to me, that my coloring and features were lovely. She looked into my eyes and we chatted quite a while, mostly her speaking and me listening. What a rich and interesting life she has had. And a good one- one in which she can take great pride and comfort.

I said how lovely her hands were. Her fingers seem impossibly tiny and are quite elegantly formed without the signs of arthritis which seem so common in the hands of the elderly folk in my own family. I thought of my own hands, and how the rigors of my leisure pursuits seem to have taken their toll on my little mitts. Nails very short for my new guitar practice. Years of flower gardening, working with wire and tools in jewelry manufacture and of course, the shooty arts wot am hell on a manicure. Still, I like the way my hands look - the hands of an artisan. My hands say I am capable, and I like that. But I look at her hands and consider the X number of decades she has on me - hers still have a look of refinement which age can not mar. Her hands say who she is: a Lady.

She said she'd been a pianist and people loved watching her play and always commented on her pretty hands, and that she'd considered being a hand model. She chuckled. She looked at my left hand holding her left hand and raised her right hand, turning it in the light, considering. Her fine skin is corded with vessels draped over her bones under too-thin skin. The lines of her hands are beautiful and yes-- they show her age. She looked at her hand a moment longer and then pointed to her own left hand and said "this is what your hands look like when you're old and ...bony. And this [now pointing to my hand] is what your hands look like when they are young and..."

I waited for the word, knew it would be a good one.


We both threw our heads back and laughed.


Christina LMT said...

What a lovely story, Phlegm! I'm aggravated by how many young people disrespect the elderly in our country nowadays. It's our youth-worshipping culture, I'm afraid.
Regarding "padding"...when I was still in massage school, doing my clinical inservice on the weekends, I had a little old lady as a client who mentioned how nice it was that my forearms were so padded...apparently getting massages from skinny people with skinny, bony forearms was painful to her! In that case, being a little, shall we say, "overabundant" was a plus!

Attila The Mom said...

Oh that was really lovely!

Happy New Year!

phlegmfatale said...

Christina - Aw, thanks! It was very nice for me, I admit, because a few years back, I lost both my grandmothers in an 11 month period. There's nothing like that relationship in the world, and talking to her was very comforting to me, and I think she enjoyed it, too.
That makes sense - what you say about a massage from a fleshier technician. I agree about the padding.

Attila TM - Thanks so much - glad you enjoyed it, and happy new year to you, as well!

Vinogirl said...

Fab writing :)

HollyB said...

Thia is a erful, warm story. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
Please convey my best regards to your friend on your next visit.

Buck said...

A wonderful story, indeed. Good on ya for taking the time to listen and enjoy the moments, Phlegmmy. Lotsa folks just don't (or won't), as Christna notes. More's the pity.

Breda said...

Oh boy. I love this story so much. Beautiful and funny...just like you.

Happy new year, Phlegmmy.

steff66 said...

That was just beautiful.