He looked across at the figure at the other end of the bar, his eyes drawn in fascination by the sharp planes of her wrist bones, the casual grace of the limb. It wasn’t something he would normally remark upon. The hand wasn’t the usual appendage noted about the female form, at least not first, but on her, the wrist was all he could clearly see. Resting along the battered counter top, motionless, as if it were divorced from the rest of the world. A sculpture. At that moment he would swear on any scripture you cared to name that, if he could touch it, that arm would be as smooth and cold as the marble it was carven from.
The middle finger, centre of the bridge her hand made, arced up ever so slightly, bearing a wide sliver band. From here he couldn’t see, till she raised her hand to lift the tumbler to her lips, the rectangular amber stone recessed flatly into the metal, the colour of the whisky in his own glass. All he could see in the downward shaded pool of light was the silent flight of her arm: the fingers birds, stilled momentarily in migration from the shadows cast around. A moment of silence in which he felt the woman had come closer to him than a lover. He knew her deeply, and was moved in turn by the honour she had bestowed upon him by permitting this glimpse of quiet strength. She might laugh at her companion’s joke, but it was he who was privy to her lyric calm.
Oh yes, he would later tell his children, it is possible to love someone you have only just seen. To commit so deeply to one person, for the chance that you might one day be permitted to see once more the silent grace, and rest at last in its calm.