Touchy Feely

Connotation Press 2011

They sat at the table next to us—a deuce, with her on the banquette and he in a chair on my side about a foot and a half separation between us. I never saw his face but watched hers as he stroked her hand, entwined their fingers and made circles on her palm with his index finger. She was attractive. He had a shaved head and was obviously in deep love. She spooned her soup with her right hand as he held her left and I wanted to tell him to back off—give her some space but I was supposed to be engaged in conversation with my husband and the other couple with us.


If we were two tables away I would have pointed them out. I watched her wrest her hand from his and take a piece of bread. She kept it in her hand and continued on with her soup. He reached across and fondled her wrist and when she lifted her hand to take a bite of bread his hand rose with hers.

When their entrees came there was more of his touching—his proffering a piece of his meal to her and she taking it even though she hadn’t finished whatever she was chewing from her own plate.

Run, I wanted to tell her. Do not invite him up or have another date or take his phone calls. Change your e-mail address. He’ll suffocate you I wanted to whisper. He is suffocating you now I held myself back from yelling. He’s the insanely jealous type I wanted to write on a napkin and slip to her.

All the while my husband was rubbing my back. He stopped and put his hand on my knee and on auto-pilot I turned and smiled at him. His big browns were staring meaningfully. His smile meant something different than mine. He touched my cheek. I lifted my fork. He caressed my hair.

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