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I crept my hand toward his, letting my fingertips lightly touch the pale, soft skin of the back of his right hand.
He let out the breath of a chuckle, like the essence of laughter breaking from some hidden place inside of him. I'm not sure if he was laughing at me, or the sheer awkwardness of two grown ass adults trying to hold hands.
Our fingers started to interlace when I realized the stiffness of his hand, the reluctance of the bony fingers to spread, the tension in the knuckles.
I wonder if he is resisting me. If he doesn't want to be in contact with me. I wonder if I am making a complete and total fool of myself, holding hands like jr. high children in darkened movie theaters.
And when I laid my head on his shoulder, he held out his arm and pulled me into his chest.
What is this tension in his hands?
Could it be the lingering stiffness from an injury? The compliment to the aching knees, the pained back? What has this twenty-two year old man done to his young body?
And I feel those fingers, stroking my side as I am held close to him, struggling to split my focus between the movie on my television screen, and the bony awkwardness of his knee. Running the pads of my fingers on his leg, like breathing after swimming underwater --- gasping and grasping to pull him in.
And his fingers are stroking my side in a way that tickles to my very core, but I am afraid to squirm. Afraid he will stop. Afraid he will pull away and I will lose the opportunity to take in the coarse texture of hair covering his legs, or the sound of his heartbeat, deceptively changing in volume and speed (I curse the action movie for causing such confusing signals.)
My roommate tells me it's dangerous to want to really know someone.