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A Nice Touch
By Cyndie Goins Hoelscher
(Page 1 of 3)

Hours before she died, I sat by her bedside, holding her hand. She had slipped into a coma during the night and was far beyond my reach. I did not know if she could hear the encouraging words I whispered to her, but I stroked her head softly, searching for assurances that she was not experiencing any pain. I stayed there, praying that she still thought my touch was nice and somewhat of a comfort. Despite the overwhelming grief that engulfed me soon afterward, it did not escape my notice that being there for her was the greatest thing I had ever done in my life.

I still missed her. The five years since her death had not weakened the impact of the loss of her and her beloved rose garden in my life. “So, what are you sketching?”

Some strangers had wandered into my wilderness area. I pointed to a tangle of cactus with dried-up flowers and a petrified mesquite stump. A chameleon hopped on one of the broad leaves and I instantly sketched him into my composition, amazed at how quickly my pencil filled in the details in front of me while my mind had escaped to moments deep in the past.

“Now, why would you choose to sketch something so harsh when there is so much beauty all around you?” the stranger’s wife frowned as she noted the uninviting, serrated leaves and the dead flowers. The muted olive and umber colors of the jagged landscape were highlighted once in a while by sporadic flashes from the sun, illuminating a small area in spring green before fading into a memory.

“It’s an aloe plant,” I mentioned, swallowing hard. “It’s used for healing.”

“I’m not sure why anyone would spend hours dwelling on such an ugly thing,” the stranger shook his head. “But it is a good likeness, and you seem to have a nice touch.”

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