The magnificent “event” that changed everything began with a hand. The
simple sight of a hand. To this day I can’t forget the exquisite beauty of that
hand. Like a Michelangelo painting. It held a number two yellow pencil over a
spiral notebook filled with almost perfect writing. The other hand traced words
over a seventh grade American History book. I remember the olive-skinned hand
now as if it’s bathed in luminous sunlight, even though I knew it couldn’t have
been since the windows were to the back of the classroom.
But that hand mesmerized me. Made me look at my own and wonder why it
wasn’t as perfect. I studied those flawless fingers diligently holding the pencil,
the way it moved across the paper. And it seemed to me, at that moment, there
was nothing on earth that had greater beauty.
And it was then I noticed something completely different in me. Some kind
of sensation of longing and need. I felt instantly hot all over, sensed droplets of
sweat in my hairline. They trickled to my collar with each heavy drumbeat of my
heart. My mouth went dry. I wondered, “What is this? What is this feeling? What is
I’ve no clue how long I sat hypnotized. I just remember the spell was broken
when he turned to look at me with those bright brown eyes…and smiled. The
smile that changed everything. The smile that I can remember more than forty
years later with concise clarity.