She remembers the first time his hand closed around her fingers, the smooth skin of youth and a slight dampness like when he proposed. He loved her fragrant hand lotion, in truth, and he would inhale the scent off his hands hours later. Years pass and dry wrinkles form as the grip tightens through all life’s demands, either lifting or pulling through each storm. The rheumatism challenges their hold of each other in the hospital bed, and just before the thin skin goes cold, familiar touch takes care of the unsaid. For a time they are forced to relinquish, but love’s caress will never extinguish. Nicholas Froumis practices optometry in the Bay Area. His writing has appeared in Gravel, Right Hand Pointing, Dime Show Review, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing,Torrid Literature Journal, WestWard Quarterly, Ground Fresh Thursday, Blood and Thunder, Balloons Lit Journal, and The Society of Classical Poets Journal. Recently, he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in San Jose, CA with his wife, novelist Stacy Froumis, and their daughter.