The screen door creaked and Sam stepped out from the house, making his way to a deck chair beside his friend Mark. Sunrise was just moments ago, the warm glow hitting their faces amidst the whistling soundtrack of black-capped Chickadees in the surrounding woods.

Mark could tell life had Sam weighed down with sadness, he just had a hard time understanding why.

For a long moment the two stared out over the lush greens surrounding them on this crisp May morning. Silent before nature’s sweet sounds.

Sam spoke up, his voice trembling, “Do you know what I will miss most?” He asked, “mornings like this together. My hand doesn’t feel right empty and untouched.”

Mark just listened, allowing his friend the space to speak his thoughts.
Sam continued, “And those warm, smooth curves. I had each and every one memorized through touch. We were a part of each other’s lives for 20 years. Every day. All of those mornings just like this, right here on this very porch.” He let out a huge sigh, staring at his empty, calloused hands, “With me,” he said, choking up, “beside me for so much of my life, even as I built this house out of a dream, young, filled with hope and joy.”

Mark nodded as if he understood. He was trying to support his friend, but he was having an impossible time comprehending his friend’s loss and way of grieving. Having never experienced this connection, all Mark felt was honest confusion.

“And that feeling against my lips,” Sam whispered, “There was — “ he trailed off, attempting to compose himself as his shaking hand rubbed his eyes, “There was no greater thing than that soft, sweet first touch to my lips every morning.” A lone, gentle tear rolled over Sam’s cheek as he looked to his friend, his voice pleading, “I don’t think I can go on without—“ he stopped, the lump in his throat preventing another word from freeing itself into the cool, sharp morning air.

Mark shook his head and stared at his friend, “Sam,” he said, his voice soaked with impatience, “Why don’t you just find yourself a new favorite coffee mug?”

Sam broke down in tears, holding his face in his hands, his uncontrollable sobs drowning out the peaceful sounds of early morning.

Mark rolled his eyes and looked away in disgust, standing up with a grunt, then heading into the house. “I’m gonna go get a beer,” he called out, “come on in when you quit being such a pansy.”

And with that, he left his friend in the early morning bronze light of the sun-drenched porch, surrounded by the cheerful whistles of black-capped Chickadees, a broken man, as shattered and incomplete as his favorite coffee mug.

4 thoughts on “Empty, Calloused Hands (Short Story)”

  1. I love it! Where did I see this already? A video, facebook? I don’t remember, but I have heard it and I think it is hilarious! Well, not at first, at first it seems terribly sad and you really feel for the person, but then you get to the end and it’s hilarious! Love it! Did I say that yet?

    1. I read this story on one of the more recent videos (empathy video). So glad you liked it! This was a fun write!

  2. WOW! This is brilliant. It definitely took an unexpected turn. Who knew Sam was such a drama king lol. This made my day. Keep up the good work, fellow INFJ. 🙂

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