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Why Didn't You Hold my Hand

Story ID:7532
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Caldwell ID USA
Year:2011
Person:Dad
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“Mike, meet Jeff.” my boss Paul said to me. “Jeff is joining our department
today.”

I stared at the man who towered over my boss. I’m six feet tall, but had to look up
at Jeff. My boss looked like a child next to him.

I held out my hand. “Nice to meet you, Jeff. You’ll enjoy working here.”

Jeff took my hand in his. “Glad to be a part of it, Mike. It’s nice to meet you too.”

Jeff’s sausage-sized fingers crushed mine against a palm as wide as a baseball
glove. “Nice to …ouch …meet you too, Jeff. This is a great company to work for.”

My hand was a child’s in this man’s hand.

The last time I felt so small was when I walked with my Mum as a young boy.
Mum took me for walks to pick berries or flowers. On warm spring days, she’d say,
“Michael, let’s go for a walk. The May flowers should be blooming.” We walked along
the dirt road. She held my tiny hand; I felt safe.

Years later, I held my children’s tiny hands on our walks with nature. “Maybe
we’ll find some flowers or berries for Mom.” I say.

More years went by. I held the hands of my grandchildren.

The images of all the small hands I held and those that held my tiny childhood
hands flashed through my mind. One image didn’t come. I don’t remember my father
ever holding my hand. Maybe he thought it was mum’s job to do the hand holding.
Perhaps he thought it was unmanly to hold his child’s hand. Maybe I just don’t remember.

I do wish I could ask him, “Dad, why didn’t you ever hold my hand? Why didn’t
you show me the comfort and support a father’s hand can give? Why was that hand only
used for punishment?”

I’d like to know his answer.

Michael T. Smith