Sunday 20 October 2013

3 Stories By Andrew McCallum Crawford on McStorytellers

Here's something of mine just up on McStorytellers - three stories about a writer who is obsessed with his Muse. Do have a look.

Many thanks to Brendan Gisby, who's been working tirelessly over the last three years to help Scottish-connected writers. McStorytellers has just published its 400th story - I am proud to be part of the celebrations.



A Man's Hands - Short Story by Andrew McCallum Crawford


A Man's Hands

You talk of things, you dear, sweet man, of things that mean nothing, because you talk of the past. Please stop. It is something I have forgotten. Don’t ask me why. Don’t insist.
   You reach across the table and take my hands in your hands. Your skin is so white, so smooth. And your fingers. Your hands. They are not a man’s hands. They are not the kind of hands I want touching me, holding me here, but I indulge you. Your hands. They are not what I am used to. You have the hands of a musician. A female pianist, perhaps. Not a man’s hands. I move slightly, trying to get away, but you smile and grip me more tightly. Despite myself, I press into the soft flesh. Something happens. The part of your hands, the part of your hands that I am pressing, disappears. I look at your face, but all you do is talk. You continue to talk of the past, of things I don’t want to hear. I give all my attention to your hands. My fingers. I make small, circular movements which grow larger. Soon there is nothing left. Your hands have vanished.
   I stifle a laugh. The other customers laugh out loud, but not at this spectacle. They sip their coffee, cups poised, elbows on tables, lost in their own worlds. The Virgin’s little horses have all paired off.
   I reach for your face. You continue to talk, you persist, even as I stroke your brow. Your forehead is gone. Then your eyes, that piercing blue is no more. I caress your cheeks and touch your neck.
   I run a thumb across your mouth.
   Silence at last.
   You sit there, mute, faceless and handless. I think of the words tabula rasa, but this has nothing to do with the future. I have already forgotten what you look like, although I remember your hands, like a woman’s. Not a man’s hands.
    I have to go. I bid you farewell, but you say nothing. How could you? Outside, I glance at you through the window. No one in the cafĂ© has noticed you there. The sun bursts through the clouds, like a flashbulb, and the glass becomes a mirror, or a photographic plate. A snapshot of a street scene, with me in the bottom left hand corner. My face almost – but not quite – as expressionless as…as what? It is hard to recall. Something about a voice. A piano. Hands. I see myself, reflected and framed, the moment captured like a definition.

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This story was first published in Spilling Ink Review