The Hand is an Extension of the Heartbycowboy109©
The first time I saw Rose, she was kneeling in a dog run. Her torso was erect. Her hands were cupping around a white and black Jack Russell terrier and Beagle mix named Jack. Her hands were carefully holding the bundle of soft, short fur. The dog was curled into a surrendered ball to accept her petting. The dog head with the small floppy ears seemed very intelligent, the way that it tossed itself into her hand clamoring for love.
Rose's clothes were a little bit odd. By all means, she was nicely dressed with new and well groomed clothes. However, there was a bit of a utilitarian feel about the size of the clothes. The t-shirt was perfectly long enough to cover the belt loop of her jeans. Yet, most girls were t-shirts that are either overly long to appear like a gone or are too short to expose the midriff a bit. Similarly, her pants had a very classic Levi's jeans cut. Someone looking clothes might have thought that she was from a boarding school.
The other cue was that whenever Jack ran behind her, she did not turn around. Instead her body remained still. Her hands would slowly sift through the air. And, her before joyfully smiling face would get a tense, focused expression. She always wore sunglasses, the ones that beach volley ball players wear. The whole glasses are one smooth, solid black plastic shield across her face.
If you watched the dog close enough, his behavior also displayed a different attitude to her than to the other shelter volunteers. The dog would give her a little extra space, like it knew that he had to look out for her. And, the dog would regularly look at her face to find out what was going on with her in a very sensitive manner.
Rose was blind.
From the first day, Jerry had curiously watched her from a distance. The difference and vulnerability had attracted him to her. Yet, he did not dare to appear rude. He also didn't want to make her uncomfortable. So, he hadn't approached her. He had waited for a chance encounter. However, she always kept separate from the other shelter volunteers. So, he never randomly bumped into her.
The city animal shelter consisted of pale concrete walls, bright metal fences, and yellow grit stones on the walkways. Because the climate was so sunny and warm, all the animals were outside. A gentle breeze blew in between the cages to alleviate the dirty dog smell as best as it could. There was a big green lawn with comfortable benches to let the dogs free run.
Walking past the kennels, some days ignited the dog into a frenzy. The little Chihuahua's would bark their high pitched barks. A couple big dogs pitched in with deeply baritone bark blows. A few pit bulls would jump head high to release pent up energy and angst. Other times, the kennel pack was docile and sleepy.
Jerry folded dog blankets and towels inside of the laundry room with the door open. The blankets were hodgepodge of donations: Tiny ultra-soft neon colored store bought blankets, big white human comforters, blue horse blankets, and so on. Most of the blankets were so soft that he wondered about getting new bedding for himself. Some were shredded by dogs chewing them up.
While he folded the mountain of laundry that the industrial dryer spewed out, he watched the outside. There were three dog runs that he could see. A sand colored pit bull mix would often stand at the door looking out. Occasionally, visitors looking to adopt a dog would stop by. Weekends, the young women visiting were often dressed up in light and cute dresses with flip flops. He loved watching them parade by. And, if a little wind blew, his favorite pastime was watching their dresses intently like a cat watching a mouse hole. This once a big butted chick bent over, and he almost saw her panties. However her boy friend stopped by and glared at him. Jerry quickly looked down at the laundry again.
Rose was his big fascination. Rose had an evenly figured face. From what he could tell, her facial skin reflected the sun in sparkles sometimes. Her hair was sometimes braided, sometimes in a pony tale, and sometimes in wet curls from a recent shower. She was of average size. Her body was slender and in good enough shape. What really drew him to her was a desire to help her, to show her the world, and to be fascinated by the visionless world that she lived in.
She didn't want to be seen as blind and different. So, she usually tried not to use her cane. Instead, she'd carefully measure distances with her steps and memorize. She'd carefully find the door handle to the kennel. There was only an outside door handle. So, she had to reach through the fence door to push it down. She'd step back into the kennel and repeat until she could find the door handle without seeming to try. Yet, in her head, she carefully counted and measured each step.
He only watched. And, she could not see him.
One sunny afternoon, Rose walked up to the shelter volunteer coordinator, a fulltime staffed position. The coordinator was a woman of small stature. Her head appeared round like a football. The hair was thinned and unkempt. Her face was permanently torn with anguish about the animals' suffering. She wore a thick padded jacket, the city uniform that made her look twice her size.
"Hi, Miss O'Donnell, what can I help today?"
"See, it's just not a good idea to have blind people around here. It gets very busy around here. I don't have time to show you. Find another volunteer and shadow her."
The coordinator barked off her terse response and walked away. Rose's face was controlled and did not let on anything. However, her body was stiff and unresponsive. Jerry could feel in his own body, how Rose was holding herself together. He almost cried, because he had been barked at before. And, he knew the feeling of being shut out.
"Rose, would you be interested in helping socialize Firefly?"
Rose turned her head around. She was unusually clumsy suggesting that the barking by the coordinator had hit her hard. Probably, daring to come as a blind person required a lot of courage and made it that much more sensitive for her. She almost tripped over her converse sneakers. The sneakers gave her a youthful touch. Her mouth remained closed.
"Do you want me to come to you?"
"I prefer to come to you. What kennel number are you in?"
"I am in kennel L3."
Her gait was like that of any twenty year old woman. She confidently walked around the island in the concrete with the bush. She stopped at the kennel and held the door handle. Her face was a bit blotchy and a bit nervous. Her t-shirt was black with a red anatomical heart, the band name 'Deftones', and list of tour dates.
"Hi, I am Jerry. I have seen you around. Oh, sorry I didn't want to offend you."
"You can speak normally around me. You don't have to avoid the word 'see.' My name is Rose. Nice to meet you."
"Come in. I am holding Firefly. She is a very playful, an almost white Staffy-Lab mix. Even though she is seven years old, she is very puppy like."
Rose stepped into the kennel. There was something cute about the way that she pointed her toes, when she stepped over the concrete hump beneath the door, almost ballerina like. The door clicked behind her. Jerry let go off the dog. The dog immediately rushed toward Rose.
Firefly did a dog bow. Her front paws were stretched out. Her chest pressed against the floor. Her butt was high in the air and wagging like crazy. To dogs, this is a play invitation. It says that any barking, biting, and wrestling from now on is play and not serious, get it?
The next moment, Firefly jumped up on Rose. Firefly's front paws scratched across Rose's belly. Rose's belly skin showed a bit. Her belly was slender and had soft skin. The navel button was flush with her skin, neither an innie nor an outie. Her face looked panicked and overwhelmed. Her cheeks and mouth gave it away. Her hands reactively pushed into the air.
"Rose, I'll get her. Firefly has to learn to calm down."
"No, just because I am blind doesn't mean that I can't handle this."
With more composure, Rose turned ninety degrees and said a thin 'off.' Firefly simply bounced around to jump again onto Rose's front. Rose turned away again and repeated off. Jerry was on the edge of his toes to jump in to rescue Rose.
However, Rose took a deep breath. Her whole body moved half an inch down with the exhale. She stepped her feet wide apart to stand solid. With a deep, stern voice, she repeated 'off' and held her flat hand out like a police officer signaling a car to stop. Firefly looked confused and paced to the back of the kennel to drink some water. Jerry's heart swelled with an unfamiliar feeling of pride for Rose having managed the situation. He even felt tears at the edge of his eyes.
"Would you like to play a game with Firefly?"
"This is a relay game. Here are some treats. We'll alternately call Firefly. And, she will run between us. That way she learns to come on command."
Jerry dropped a handful of treats into Rose's open hand. He felt the pads of her finger tips. It was a beautiful, small, and soft hand. There was something intelligent about the hand. The hand seemed to be more sensitive than regular hands. The fingers on the hand seemed to move more independently. After all, her hand was her way to see the world.
"In yoga class, the teacher said that the hand is an extension of the heart. The hand gives gifts, caresses, and love."
"Oh, I do yoga as well."
Both stood at opposite sides of the kennel. Jerry called out "Firefly here." Firefly did not react. She kept running around Rose's feet. Jerry clapped against the side of his knee. Then, he waved both arms wide out to the side and called Firefly. Firefly looked. Her eyes looked very curious as if they were saying eagerly: "What is going on here? I want to know!" He fed her a treat.
Rose called out "Firefly here." And, she held out the treat. Firefly trotted over happily after she had gotten a first taste, she knew that the treat tasted good. Her soft tongue lapped across Rose's hand. The eager Firefly cleaned her whole hand. Being part Labrador, her mouth was ultra soft. Labradors are known to be able to carry an egg in their mouth without breaking it.
A joyful smile spread over Rose's face. Her whole being lit up. Her hair was a beautiful frame to her face. A long strand of dark hair stood out from her head. Jerry felt endeared to Rose as he watched her happiness with the dog's attention. Rose squatted down to pat the dog. A beautiful aliveness gleamed out of Rose' being, her body movements and posture exuded bliss. Jerry got a strange feeling of protectiveness. Some instinctive impulse told him to guard that preciousness of Rose, while he quietly watched her.
After a few more relay runs, Firefly got the hang of it. After getting one treat, she already anticipated running back to the other person. However, one of the animal care technicians walked past the kennel with a strongly pulling black Dane. The black Dane was lunging forward like on a prowl. All the dogs erupted in excited barking. Firefly herself broke out barking.
"Rose, I tried to correct her for barking. However, Firefly doesn't listen. So, I withdraw my attention until she stops. Let's have a seat."
The fence had a concrete foundation. The concrete foundation was a little wider than the fence. That ledge was just enough to squeeze part of the butt on. With the feet pushing back, one could sort of sit. Thus, Jerry and Rose sat side by side.
"That coordinator barks at everyone. She tries to uphold all the loose ends of the shelter herself. And, because she works so hard, she often misses her lunch. You know how people get with low blood sugar."
"Haha, my roommate gets like that as well. I keep candy in my desk drawer. Whenever she gets grumpy, I give her a chocolate. Then, we both laugh."
"So, you live around here?"
"Yes, I live at a home for vision impaired. When it is still at night, we can hear the dogs bark here."
"I have never been with a blind person. How should I be around you? Should I always tell you what is going on around?"
"First, you don't have to speak louder or in a baby voice. A lot of people do that. We are neither deaf nor retarded. We are blind. Otherwise, we really appreciate to be treated normal. If someone is overly helpful, it makes us uncomfortable. That really draws attention to our disability. Treat us like normal people."
Firefly had stopped barking. They continued the obedience training. Jerry took Rose around the shelter to visit more dogs, clean some kennels, and fold more dog blankets. When they folded dog blankets, Jerry created a special pile for Rose. However, Rose insisted on taking her own blankets out of the dryer and memorizing the location for small, medium, and large blankets. Jerry's favorite was large blankets that required team folding. It gave him a chance to smile at Rose, watch her facial expressions, and get a glimpse at her firm boobs.
When the PA announced the shelter closing, Rose paused for a moment. Then, she asked, "Would it be alright to touch your face? I'd like to memorize who spent this lovely afternoon with me."
Jerry stepped forward. Rose reached her right hand. Her finger tips softly touched his face. Immediately, Jerry smelled the dogs strongly on her hand. Usually, he shrugged away from collars or anything that smelled too much like unwashed dog. However, he loved her gentle fingers on his face so much that he didn't give it a second thought. There was a bubble of intimacy around him. Her fingers felt so delicate and intend, as she read his face. Her fingers caressed over his cheeks, along his nose, cautiously brushed his lips.
When she got to his hairline, she giggled like a silly little girl: "Oh, you have beautiful curly hair."
From then on, they would always volunteer as a pair. They happily chattered along their work. They both loved the book 'Snow crash.' The fantasized about going hiking together someday. They discussed which their favorite dog was. They exchanged cooking recipes. Playful teasing was always part of it.
One day in the laundry room, while folding blankets, Rose asked, "Why do you keep the laundry door open?"
"Well, it is just nice to have the sunlight come in."
"Why don't you close it for this once?"
"I guess I can close it."
After he had shut the door, he turned around to find Rose standing close to him. She reached for his hand softly to measure the distance to him. She was very close, in the intimate distance. Jerry wanted to warn Rose about the obvious mistake of standing too close. However, he paused that impulse for a moment, because being so close to Rose was something wonderful.
He could see her eyes fully with the striation in her iris. She had vividly blue eyes. Her face seemed so much softer at this close distance. Also, his mind switched into a different mode being so close to her. He felt more tender. For the first time, he could smell her soft, yet unique body odor over the pervasive dog smell. A subtle fruity aroma of her shampoo was in the air. He could see the vein at the side of her throat twitching with each heart beat.
Her lips moved forward. He realized that she was about to kiss him. Instinctively, he adjusted his head for her lips to meet him, because she couldn't see him. Her soft lip stick free lips settled onto his. Her small pointed tongue slipped through his lips. Instinctively, his strong, male tongue welcomed hers. He explored her mouth, teeth, and tongue. They wrapped their arms around each other and pulled close.
Her hand explored his butt. He loved the small distinct, curious grabbing action of her hand. There was something driven by desire about her hand, like she was a butt woman. Her small perky breasts rubbed against his chest, only separated by the thin fabric of two t-shirts.
He had an instant hard on. At first, he kept his pelvis awkwardly away from her to avoid being found out and seeming too sexual. However, a few moments later, he dared to reveal himself. He let her pelvis discover his erection among the gentle swaying motions caused by their bodies adjusting to the devouring of each other's mouth. Her tongue affirmed of his erection by becoming more excited. He relaxed knowing that she liked him as a sexual being. She was a hot passionate bundle in his arms like he had never felt a body and soul wrapping around him.
Steps sounded. They separated. The door opened. One of the elderly retired volunteer women came in, "Sweetie peed on her blanket again. I am bringing her a new one."
That evening, Jerry asked Rose, if he could walk her home. She said 'yes.' He put out his right arm. They interlocked their elbows and walked down the street. The traffic on the street was full of heavy evening commute. The mood of tired workers with short fuses trying to get home was noticeable: A lot of honking and cars stopping inches behind the bumpers of the front car. The street lights were shining orange just a little bit before they were really needed, because the remnant of sunlight was still there.
The home for the vision impaired was a two story high building with decorative brown shingles and a tree in front of it. All the surrounding buildings were big, tall concrete monstrosities that packed as many rental units as possible. Big pots with house plants stood in the lobby. The whole place had a stagnant old feel to it. The carpet was a little deeper than it needed to be. Railings and walls were painted with a dark brown color. An old dilapidated elevator offered an alternative to the open stairs.
Rose invited Jerry to come upstairs for five minutes: "Check out my place. It is simple. Yet, I'd like for you to see it."
After the stairs, they walked through an open community room with couches, tables, and board games on a shelf. They passed a communal kitchen and bathroom. The hallway was a long row of individual rooms. Rose unlocked the door in the middle of the hallway. Postcards from Hawaii adorned the outside of her room's door. "My dad lives in Hawaii."
She slipped into her room with familiarity. Her gestures changed once she was at home. Her gestures were more cozy, familiar, and informal. She plopped down in the middle of her bed. Her bed was in one corner. It was a small bed that fit a single person. The white down comforter was puffy and tall. Her butt made a deep dent into it.
Opposite to her bed was the bed of her roommate. In front of the window was a desk with two chairs. They had a laptop each. One was a Mac, the other a PC. There were pencils and other office paraphernalia on the desk. The room was very tidy. Being blind made it important to have everything in the right spot.
"Sit," said Rose and patted the down comforter next to her with her hand.
Jerry hesitated for a moment, because sitting on someone's bed is really intimate. When he sat down, he really enjoyed being asked into that intimate space. He imagined her lying there at night in her pajamas and having her private thoughts. He smiled as he looked around the room.
Rose's hands walked over his back and belly until she had his lips on her lips. They soul kissed right away. With their chests hugged together, they fell back on the bed. She rolled on top of him. He could feel the cool surface of the sheets against his back. He felt her hot body on top her. She was raking and moving with passion as she devoured his kisses.
He dared moving his hands under her t-shirt in the back. He explored her whole back. The skin to skin contact got both of them turned on. He hugged her and pulled her in tight. With each hug, he dared moving his hands a bit more around her back until he felt the sides of her breast. She seemed to enjoy it. So, he kept pushing the boundaries, until he held her small perky breasts in her hand and played with her nipples.