Returning after so long, and in my state of mind, and on this day,
this kind of day I meant, I had no awareness of where Adonie was, whether
she had preceded me into the house or not, or if she were inside, where
she had gone.
The house was still except every now and again a random creak or snap
as the wood protested another day. People dismissed it as age, as a
flaw. Sometimes they wanted me to make it go away. They thought it
was creepy or that it would raise their insurance rates. To me it was the
living interaction of structure and environment. They were not separate
but portions of a whole constantly and complexly influencing one another.
It was like a conversation. When I was beginning I had tried to explain
that to people. They had tried to hire another carpenter.
That is how I saw my work with wood, too.
I don't know how I entered or where I went first my thoughts were
swirling so with this portentous return, this entrance, I don't know what I
expected other than silence. Voices? Visions? The living past? Secrets
What did I want? What had I come for?
Did I expect the questions as well as the answers to come to me after I
Maybe I was just escaping, after all. Just moving. How American that
would be of alien me to think I could deny all faults and failures and
crimes by moving on. Equating moving with forgetting. How human of
me, after all.
But maybe I wasn't doing that.
Maybe I was waiting for my head to clear and my heart to slow after
entering this terribly different realm. I was adjusting to new pressures
like any explorer or audacious fool.
But at some point I came to a doorway and saw Adonie across the room,
at the base of the staircase, and she had one hand raised up and set
against the wall. Scarcely touching the broad strip of carved molding her
hand seemed to hover over the wood rather than to be
I noticed her hand then as I had not at the cafe. It was slender, too, as
she, yet possessed a strength which was nothing like the strength of my
hands thickened with layers of muscle. Smooth, supple, the fingers long
and competent, the nails trimmed short and clean and unadorned. She
wore no rings.
She stood motionless. Maybe she looked up the stairs. Maybe she was
feeling the house under the palm of her hand.
Suddenly I remembered I had felt a hand that way before. Seeing it, I
had felt it, known it and what it did.
Lyman touched horses that way.