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A Nice Touch
By Cyndie Goins Hoelscher
(Page 2 of 3)

“Do you see the folded leaves in the foreground?” she prompted. They are very dark, not quite within the highlighted area.”

“Yes, I see them,” I quickly added some dark spikes in the foreground which successfully yielded a three dimensional element to my sketch.

"You have such a nice touch,” she smiled. “I’m going to check on the others. Do you have any questions?

I shook my head, as she moved off to the flower gardens where the other students were busy sketching.

“A nice touch,” I shuddered. When have I been told that before?

My pencil worked methodically while a memory tugged at my heart. I remember performing at a music recital at the tender age of seven. I felt like a princess, wearing a long pink gown with white polka dots, which my grandmother had sewn for me for the special event. My long, brown hair was brushed straight and flat, held back with a white velvet headband. Still, I was nervous about performing because it was my first judged event. I recognized my name on the loud speaker, summoning me to the stage. I promptly took my seat at the Steinway piano, noting that the bench was too high and my feet did not reach the pedals near the floor. I had never touched the elegant keys of a Steinway before, and it was much grander than the small upright piano back home. I do not remember breathing as my fingers rushed through the musical piece, but somehow I finished the entire score without passing out.

Afterwards, each music student was called to the head table, where judges delivered individual oral and written evaluations.

“Your counting was off and you seemed to completely ignore the dynamics of the music, but you played fairly well overall,” one judge said.

“Did I win a medal?” I asked sheepishly.

“No, but you have a nice touch with the music,” he complimented me.

“A nice touch.” I beamed happily, although I had no clue of what the judge was saying.

But that memory was outmatched by what was to follow several decades later.

When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, my husband and I moved in to care for her. I cooked her meals and tended her rose garden for her when she became bedridden. In the mornings, I lovingly bathed her, remembering childhood times when she cared for me so tenderly. After the bath ritual, I squeezed out a generous amount of aloe lotion, rubbing her sore back, her shoulders, her arms and feet. “You have such a nice touch,” Granny murmured as I worked the soreness out of her weary muscles, her frustration at being dependent after so many years of independence laced every word. The hospicee nurses praised my grandmother every time they visited her in her home. They assured her that she had the softest and prettiest feet of all their patients.

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