"The only thing that mattered right now was that we were holding hands..." It didn’t even matter whose hands they were, or how many — we were holding them, and we were together, working as a team. Later the feet would come in, then the torsos, looking so solid and dense, although some of them were a little worse for wear — hardly surprising, considering where they’d been. She was always so positive, so jovial, even when the air got tight, the interns weepy. “Igor, help me get rid of zeez uzeless torsoz!” or something, she would say, and the atmosphere would lighten immediately. We would laugh and straighten our backs, set our jaws, and continue our work.The heads were already there, bagged and tagged and ready to go. The limbs came in, long and lean, piled like cordwood awaiting a jolly fire. They’d meant something once, I’m sure they had. Someone had enjoyed this finely-turned ankle, that bicep bisected by a prominent vein, the kind that comes from strenuous and repeated curls. Well geez, you could say that about any body part, she’d retorted once, when I’d let slip something; some comment or other may have caught in my throat. She was right, of course — she always was, about that sort of thing. That’s one reason I loved her so much.
It was the last day of summer and summer made a point of going out with a bang. Sunshine was spilling on the road and raining down the trees, accompanied by a gentle breeze that carried the shouts of joy of ten thousands of people, and blew the beat of music from our wagons down the street.The air was alive with oxygen, with laughter. From atop one of the wagons, squeezed in between the others on the railing, I waved at the people sitting on their window sills, cheering, waving back, taking pictures. A couple of elderly women toasted us from their balcony and earned a few wolf whistles and whooping from the crowd. I looked ahead. There were so many people, glinting in the sun like confetti strewn across the ground. There was confetti too, floating in between the trees, suspended. Balloons, jumping up into the air by someone's hand thrown towards the sky. And rainbow coloured flags danced in the wind everywhere, from the walls, from the cars, and from my back. Mia squeezed in next to me. I felt light, as if I too would lift off and float away. Like a balloon tied to her wrist. The only thing that mattered right now was that we were holding hands.
I love the feeling of this, movement, color, sound and so much more. Miss your being here.
The only thing that mattered right now was that we were holding hands. What did it matter that we were holding on for dear life through a virtual relationship? We were as real to one another as any other couple who walked through the park, sat at a bar and toasted “to us”, staggered home to steamy bed sheets and morning-after awkwardness. The emoticons we used to represent our love and our commitment to each other were as articulate as the soft-spoken, earnest words whispered into blushing ears by real life counterparts. Our deeply-searing cartoon glances into each other’s eyes, while comical, were as penetrating as those others. Perhaps, our love was purer because it would now exist endlessly with every resend and re-post available to us. Just by keeping our fingers pressed to the keys millions upon millions of kisses could be planted on expectant non-fleshy lips.
The only thing that mattered right now was that we were holding hands. I push back my shoulders and puff out my chest with pride, with exhilaration. I laugh, a wild, delirious, show-stopping laugh. We are two souls intertwined, inseparable, timeless, because I am beautiful and he understands me, so he alone gets to be with me. I laugh again, and toss my hair."Seriously, Charlotte, are you even listening to me?"I pull him to a halt, taking his other hand, and look him deep in the eyes. "I'm sorry honey," I smile, and kiss him on the cheek. Over his shoulder, at his usual spot on the terrasse, Joe is staring. That bitch never stood a chance.