Alayna Cole, Grade 11
His hands, warm and soothing. Scarred by the world he's been forced to defend himself against. Large but so tender, so careful. Soft strokes and small creases. The loving movements saved only for me, if only I wanted them. Hands adept at all they attempt, regardless of having endured such a broken life. Hands that belong to someone who's been forced to become a man much too young. Someone who blocks off his feelings from the rest of the world with carefully constructed walls; walls made strong by those hands. Hands that I have held, which have protected me from harm. Hands which are owned by the most gentle of giants, the most broken of minds, the most closed-off person I know. Hands which have written many letters to me, which express emotion and trust I never knew capable. Hands he once longed to have caress only my skin, but oh how things have changed.
His hands, gentle and pale. Confused and timid, searching for meaning just like his mind. Marked by his birth, a mark growing as he does. Hands that I long to hold but doubt I will ever be given the chance. Hands that do not miss a single detail as they chase his pencil across his page. Hands which have been wrapped around my shoulders, stopping me from shaking as I cry. Hands that I spent my morning longing for, which made me smile and which helped me find my way through the dark. Hands not as experienced as some, but that have been through more than most. Hands that I long to hold in mine as I comfort their owner and he comforts me, two people stranded and lost in a world that torments so many and protects so few.