Hollabirdís Hands
Phebe Davidson

The first time she saw him she knew he was something special. Tall. Raw-boned. Big hands. A little muscle jumping at the corner of his mouth. She wanted to get to know those hands. Eighteen months, and when she told him she’d had enough he gave her his best reasons why she was wrong. In court she sported the torn earlobe where he’d ripped out her earring and the cut cheek from the third time he backhanded her into the headboard for making too much noise. The bruises were gone. The truck was fixed by then, so the mess he made with the crowbar when she tried to hide in the cab was gone too. Thirty years later she would tell her nieces what it was like. How big he was. Like a tree or a tractor coming down on her from everywhere at once. How she hated him that day in court. How her jaw never set straight after he broke it. Mostly they’d hang on the last thing she said: Nobody else ever loved me that way. He’s the only one went to jail for me. No one else even came close.


                          --previously appeared in Point, 1993

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