Susan Lloy
Game of Hands

It was the first thing I noticed—his hands. They weren’t rough and calloused, as one would expect, but smooth and elegant with long fingers like a pianist or cellist. Not a handyman. The instant he removed his plumber’s wrench from the red toolbox I was smitten.

I’m not sure how it started. I recently moved into this “Thirties” building from my former borough. It wasn’t my choice, still, the triplex had been sold and three flat dwellers, including myself, got kicked out for major renovation after decades of habitation.

As with any old structure there are problems. Windows don’t open or close. Bathtubs don’t drain properly. Screens fall out and can’t be put back and as any damsel in distress I took refuge with the concierge. He doesn’t reside in the building, yet is here multiple times a week tending to apartment problems, recycling, garbage collection and so forth.

I miss my ol’ hood even though it is has turned into hipsterville. Here, I’m on the border of the wealthiest neighbourhood in the city and I feel like an imposter trudging along its leafy streets, which host multimillion-dollar homes and luxurious cars. The folks here seem confident and without a care. There is a certain kind of look amongst the privileged. A sort of … I’ve got that taken care of, a sphere of confidence in their stride, the way they hold themselves.
I recall when Von the concierge first entered my abode. His name reminds me of a California surfer and he resembles one with his sun-streaked messy hair and his lean, fit bod. My apartment entrance is wide and airy with two old doors gracing a wall. On a wooden cabinet lies an antique Underwood typewriter with a modern overhead light that hangs low above highlighting its patina and rubbed out gold letters. The double door behind is weathered with flecks of brown and café au lait cream chipped paint lacing a white base. It has the feeling of a Pollock painting, only calmer, less manic. It is an impressive entrance. Everyone says so and I can tell Von thinks the same.

He examines the typewriter and rubs the smooth black sides of the Underwood.

‘What a beautiful machine. Do you use it?’

‘No. But I write.’

‘What about?’

‘This or that. Poetry.’

‘Oh… Can’t be much mula in that.’

‘No. No. Not much.’

I’m quite a bit older than him, but he takes me in. My absoluteness. He looks into my green hued eyes and in that very instant we connect.
I knew he was coming today for the windows. Two are stuck and the sash cords are jammed in the corners. In fact, one cord is frayed nearly in half. Sadly I won’t be home; though I’ve left some text on the dining room table and an old photograph. It is a black and white photo from way back when. My head leans to one side. Tousled hair dangles over one eye. My jawline is crisp. The other eye peers out. Huge, deer like, inviting the viewer to gaze.

I want him to pick it up and caress the corners. Dive into that image. Feast on me. Imagine there’s a little bit of me left in that single hue and tones of gray and white. Sexually suggestive verse will be scattered across the oiled wooden grain. As you read your perfect hands will want to examine each inanimate within the flat: photographs, paintings, scented cloth, every nook and cranny.

I imagine our hands touching. I’ll squire you to travelled harbours and barren landscapes—gardens of memories and valleys bubbling with stars. Let’s play. AQ