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The Softest Hands

A Healing Touch

By Kenny PennPublished 5 months ago 5 min read
14
Midjourney + Kenny Penn

It started with an argument. Not your ordinary, run of the mill argument either. No. The shouting, see who can yell the loudest kind. The kind where who is right and who is wrong no longer matters. When things get nasty. When you each stop trying to prove your point and simply decide how best to hurt each other.

The fight’s over now, but we aren’t talking. You’re in the living room, watching tv or maybe talking to your best friend on the phone. I don’t know, and I don’t give a shit either. My head throbs with a migraine. You probably think I deserve it. I’m laying in bed now, your bed, in your house, staring at the ceiling, wondering if I’ve made the right decision.

The best part? The fight wasn’t even about us. It was about my ex. The woman I have absolutely no control over. The one you want me to talk to. Why? To convince her of what? There’s nothing I can say to her that I haven’t said a hundred times before. She won’t change, and I can’t simply cut her out of my life. We have a child to think of.

I’m thirsty. Typically I can just call you or send you a text, and you’ll bring me something to drink. Maybe I should text you. Be the bigger person and apologize first. No, fuck that. It’s what you want, isn’t it? You want me to come crawling to you on my knees like a beggar. Well fuck that, I wasn’t wrong, you were. You got what you wanted. You pushed my buttons and I finally pushed back. Are you happy now?

So I get up, screw it. I’ll get the drink myself.

I have to pass you in the living room to get to the kitchen. Our eyes meet. Yours are red and swollen. Your cheeks are too. In short, you look miserable, like you’ll never be happy again. I feel a stab of guilt. It’s painful. I want to cry myself. Tell you I’m sorry for what I said, but the thought makes me angry and I turn away without saying a word.

A choked off sob and the trumpet sound of a nose blowing into tissue follows me into the kitchen. Fuck.

Why can’t you be more relaxed? Like me. Why do you have to obsess on everything? In some ways, you’re the exact opposite of my ex. While she holds on to the thinnest piece of thread and pretends everything is ok, you always believe the absolute worst is going to happen. I can see it drives you just as crazy as it does me.

I finish my drink and exit the kitchen. Our eyes lock again. I take a breath. I’m on the verge of saying something to try to comfort you. Your chest expands and I pause, thinking you’re going to say something first. For a moment, we stare into each other’s eyes, but then the moment passes. I continue to the bedroom without saying a word.

Did I make the right choice, when I decided to commit? To give this a real chance? Even now, only weeks away from giving birth, it’s not too late to back out. Will it be this way forever? I can’t take this constant conflict. It hurts so much. I think it hurts more because I know it hurts you. I hate seeing you cry.

And what’s worse, you’re fucking right. I know it. You know I know it, too, but I can’t say it. To speak it aloud means more pressure from you to do something I don’t want to do. For me, conflict with her is torture. She’ll never listen, she never has, never will. How can you not see that? How can you not understand?

Your bedroom door opens on silent hinges. Your silhouette stands at the threshold as if waiting for permission to enter your own room. Eventually you do, closing the door softly behind you. I wonder if you think I’m sleeping.

You undress and get in bed. I open my mouth, close it, open it again. I don’t know what to say. I’m afraid of what I might. In the dark, you can’t see me. You don’t know I’m struggling to find the words to make it ok. So you turn your back to me.

It feels like there’s a gulf between us now. Your back is an icy wall. I reach a tentative hand to touch your shoulder, but drop it. What good will it do? My eyes begin to sting. Hot tears well up and spill down my cheeks to stain the pillow. I do my best to keep quiet.

Then suddenly you’re rolling over on your back. I hold my breath, but still you say nothing. Though I’m no longer angry, I too, keep my peace. Will we end what we have for foolish pride?

As one, our hands reach for each others, as if by some signal neither of us are aware of. Your skin is so soft, your palm warm and soothing. I squeeze gently, and you return my gesture. Your fingers caress the inside of my palm, and it’s like someone has cut the rope that’s been strangling me.

Still we don’t speak, but we don’t need to for now. Your love warms me, and I know it’s going to be ok. Your breathing slows as I run a thumb across your fingers. My eyes grow heavy. I love you so much, how could I ever doubt? We got this, you and I. We’re going to make it. We’re going to -

Midjourney + Kenny Penn

Short StoryLovefamily
14

About the Creator

Kenny Penn

Thanks for reading! I enjoy writing in various genres, my favorites being horror/thriller and dark/epic fantasies. I'll also occasionally drop a poem or two.

For a list of all my work, and to connect with me, go to www.kennypenn.com

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (11)

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  • Jazzy 14 days ago

    This was so relatable as I see some of the comments say. I definitely have had this row with exes in regards to my baby daddy and it is so hard every time.

  • Mackenzie Davis5 months ago

    This is sooo relatable, omfg. The emotions here are so immersive; you did a great job channeling a fight like this. I was THERE. Great entry, Kenny.

  • L.C. Schäfer5 months ago

    "Your back is an icy wall" - oof, we've all been there 😔

  • Jay Kantor5 months ago

    Kenny - Never to 'Dig Deep' when your so creative 'Alter Ego' seems to takes over. Jay

  • Celia in Underland5 months ago

    Wow! This is so beautifully crafted and not a word spoken. Perfectly done. I especially loved the reconcilliation. So delicate and poignant. 🤍🤍🤍

  • Donna Renee5 months ago

    You crafted an amazing story here, Kenny! It felt so real and intense (and tense!).

  • Alex H Mittelman 5 months ago

    Great work! Fantastic!

  • Lamar Wiggins5 months ago

    Wow! This felt so real. The words create the tension of the moment and the emotions of the aftermath. I loved the overall effect of reading it. Well done!

  • Wow. This was a powerful reads it drew me straight back to the feeling of being in such a highly dysfunctional relationship…. somewhere I do not miss one bit!!

  • Sweet Story, although the Fuss💚📝😉✌️

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