Sy is standing behind me, close enough that we’re almost touching, but just far enough so we aren’t. Her breath is warm against my neck, almost ticklish. I could take the tiny step back anytime and make our bodies touch. My body is intensely aware of hers and it’s taking a lot of will not to close the space between us. I want to, more than anything. I don’t, because there is something delicious about holding yourself back in anticipation of the pleasure ahead. Besides, we’ve only just begun and I don’t want to spoil the fun.

Have you ever been struck quiet by a piece of art? A song, a painting, a poem, the hands of a craftsperson plying their art? 

Words aren’t enough to describe the feeling that grips you. It’s as if at that moment, every cell in your body has ceased to move. The blood takes a pause from roaming your body, and you forget coherent thought. All the voices in your head, all the anxious tics, everything that makes you up goes still with you and just exists in the presence of the beauty you’re witnessing. All you can do is breathe in and be grateful that you experienced this wonder in your lifetime. Sometimes, you wish you could cause this stillness for other people too. You wish you were the sculptor, the poet, the composer of that stunning opus. Sometimes, you wish you were the art itself. 

Her right hand comes around me and almost touches my face. Her hand hovers over my cheek for a beat and starts a slow journey down. I take a deep breath and focus on the image in front of me. Her hand continues down its trail and when it arrives at my lips, they fall open. Her hand moves the quarter of a centimetre necessary to ensure we don’t touch. I close my eyes briefly. On any other day, she’d let me catch her finger between my lips and suck it into my mouth. Today though, she continues her slow contactless journey down my body, setting my skin alight without touch, all the time giving me the gift of watching her hands in motion.

I can’t take my eyes off them as they move over my body. I know these hands intimately. I know the lines that run across them. I know the feel of the scar from a childhood accident on the left thumb, the slight crookedness of the right finger from when it got broken and never quite set right. These hands have held me and brought me pleasure. The memory of all those times makes this exquisite torture even worse. 

She made me wish I was the cello between her legs every time her fingers touched it. The way her legs gently but firmly supported the instrument, the way the fingers of her left hand plucked at the strings urgently, and the rapid grace with which her right hand moved the bow across the instrument to cause it to emit the most hauntingly pretty of sounds. I wish I were the cello with the fortune to be caressed by her hands and coaxed to hit every note. 

She was enthralling to watch as she played. You knew at once that she’d been doing this for years and devoted herself to mastering her art. Her entire body was in tune with the wood and strings. It was her hands that kept me raptured though. It’s always the hands with me. She had the long, practised fingers of a long-time cellist, the fingers moving from memory as soon as she began to play. They took on a life of their own, remembering where to go, what to touch, when to strum and when to pluck. It made me wonder … 

When her hand reaches my breast, she wiggles her fingers slowly. Even though her hand doesn’t touch my skin, I feel every single flex of those fingers. My nipples strain toward her hand, getting even harder than they were before. I bite back a moan. Her left hand comes around me too, hovering over my thigh. As her right hand travels slowly downward, her left hand travels slowly upward. My skin is pebbling into tiny goosebumps, the tension making me want to simultaneously sigh with want and scream in frustration. 

My breathing is heavy, and the slow movement of her hands over the rise and fall of my chest is a slow, sensual dance I can’t take my eyes off. When she suggested this, I thought she was crazy and I told her just that. She told me to think about it though. I did and figured it wouldn’t hurt to try. Now, standing naked in front of the full-length mirror, watching her hands move over my body as they almost touch me, I decide I like her crazy. 

It was interesting to watch her hands when she spoke. They moved to accentuate her words, with nary a misplaced motion. Every movement was deliberate, carrying just enough weight to punctuate the words falling from her lips. Even if you didn’t want to listen, the graceful almost-dance on display gave you pause, and you were drawn in. I wasn’t attracted to her or her charismatic speeches. I was attracted to her hands and how they moved. Sometimes at the end of her speeches, she stretched out her hand toward the audience as if calling out to them to join her. When she did this, it felt like she was calling to me, only to me. I couldn’t take my eyes off her hands.

Did they have that same practised control when she wasn’t talking? Did she take off that slender ring on her middle finger when she fingered a lover? Were her large, calloused hands capable of the patience necessary to draw out an orgasm?  It’s always the hands with me. 

Her hand stops at the junction of my thighs and my pussy clenches in anticipation. By now, I’m very wet. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, summoning the strength of will not to fall back and into her. I can if I want to. We agreed that I could. The spell would be broken though and I’m not ready to be released from the hold she has on my body. I know she’ll touch me soon, that her body would surround me and envelop me in her warmth. I know that her fingers, God her fingers, would soon have me rousing God from her other duties only to cuss in her ears. 

It’s this knowledge that keeps me from begging her to touch me, even though the words are on the tip of my tongue. Neither of us has spoken a word since this began. We haven’t had the need to. This is all the communication we need; her hands gliding over my body like some solemn but erotic benediction.

She flexes her fingers and I feel myself getting wetter. She knows I like the motion of her fingers when she does that, that it makes me instantly horny whenever she folds her fingers into her fist and releases them.

It’s always the hands with me, and hers moved with a fluidity that mimicked that of the drinks she poured. 

A few of us from work were out for drinks one Friday when one of my colleagues said lesbians don’t have sex. In the typical loud manner that idiots who think they’re smart tend to have, he announced that fingering couldn’t qualify as fucking. I thought I’d be mad, but I was amused. I knew firsthand that his assertion was false. I didn’t see the need to correct him; I wasn’t the antidote to his brand of idiocy.

In a way, I’m glad for his public display of stupidity because it led me to her. I left the booth because every minute he spent explaining his senseless theory was another minute I spent trying to not burst out laughing and tell him he was gravely mistaken. I went to the bar and bought myself a drink and as the bartender mixed it, I found myself getting rather flustered. 

I stared at her hands because I knew she was used to being watched. People were curious about how their drinks were mixed and I was just another curious customer, wasn’t I? If she noticed my scrutiny, she didn’t say. I barely watched what was going into the glass. Instead, my eyes were following her hands and their respective trajectories as they picked up bottles and set them down, adding the ingredients necessary to make a long island iced tea. 

She smiled a little smile to herself as she poured and mixed. Perhaps I was imagining things, but her hands slowed down as she smiled, and she added an exaggerated flourish when she set the drink in front of me.

“Feel free to leave a tip for the show.” 

I knew then that she’d noticed me watching, and she’d slowed down so I could watch a little longer. I shook my head and raised the glass to my mouth, sipping on the cold concoction through the twirly straw she’d stuck in it.

“I thought it came free with the drink.” 

“It does, but I can tell you enjoyed it. No one has watched me mix their drinks that intently before.”

“Intently isn’t the word I’d use.” I shrugged like I hadn’t been imagining her hands on me.

“What’s the word you’d use then?” She drummed the counter gently with her finger as she spoke, and my eyes were drawn by the motion. Her hands stopped their motion and vanished into her pockets. I had no quick reply this time, and her smile was more impish than smug as she turned away to serve another customer.

That’s how I met Sy, the witty bartender who noticed my fixation with hands within minutes of meeting me. 

Her voice in my ear is gruff and her breath is hot against my skin. “Spread your legs a little wider.”

I obey. Her hand over my belly travels up again. Every nerve in my body is wildly alive and focused on those two points where her hands almost touch me. 

My skin is burning with want. I’m more turned on than I’ve ever been, and our bodies are yet to touch. Watching her hands in the mirror makes the entire experience even more surreal. That’s what this is, surreal. Reality can’t be the place where I feel like she has touched me all over my body, reached into me and touched my soul, reached deeper than anyone ever has and unravelled all my little mysteries. 

“Breathe baby, breathe.” I let out the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding. My eyes meet hers in the mirror. 

“Look.” Her soft command has my eyes drifting back to her hands.

When her fingers enter me, my moan is loud. I collapse against her and she supports me with her other hand, stroking my nipple with her fingertips as she does. I’m wound so tight, I come instantly. My eyes flutter close from habit, but I open them and watch her fuck me in the mirror. 

My senses are on overdrive. At first, I couldn’t feel her and now my back is flush against her front, the softness of her breasts, a delicious sensation against my skin. The heat that her almost-touches caused blazes into a full inferno and orgasm after orgasm washes over me. We’re no longer standing, and I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. As we fall back onto the couch, I’m grateful for the thought she put into this. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to move the couch for when we couldn’t stand anymore. 

She didn’t mind that I spent half the time we were in each other’s company holding her hands or observing them. In fact, she enjoyed it. She liked that I liked her hands on my body. She touched me every chance she got. 

I told Sy once that whoever made the universe was thinking of me when they made her and I meant it. Who else would send me a picture of their hand in the middle of the workday with the caption dick pic. She was silly, she was breathtaking, and her hands were my undoing. 

She said it casually one morning after I was still recovering from her mouth on me. “How about we have sex standing in front of the mirror, and I don’t touch you till I touch you?”

When my body has stopped shaking, she lifts her fingers to my mouth and I suck myself off them. I enjoy her breathy moan. 

“Still think I’m crazy?” 

A low laugh escapes me. “Yes Sy, I still think you’re crazy, even though this turned out to be an amazing idea.”

“You should hear the idea I just got. This won’t seem so crazy.” 

Have you ever been struck quiet by a piece of art? A song, a painting, a poem, the hands of your lover as they touched your body and brought your skin to life? 

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