Kelli J Gavin
The first thing I notice about Sonya was her hands. The way she didn’t seem to be able to utter a word without using her hands as part of the story telling. Large, looping arm movements followed by small, specific hand gestures to punctuate her points at the end of sentences. Her facial expressions seemed to match her hands wildly flailing in the air. Sonya reined in the emotion when she spoke quietly and rubbed her hands together. She was either in pain or trying to make the memory of what she spoke about disappear.
Sonya and I met three years ago. She was arguing with the man behind the counter at the body shop. She went to pick up her car and pay for the services provided and something must have gone awry. She spoke in a moderate voice, but her arms seemed to fly in every direction. I took a step back to avoid being inadvertently smacked by her loose cannon of an elbow.
“This is how this is going to work. If you aren’t done with the work, you aren’t done. But you should have called me on the phone. You have had my car for three days. What is so wrong with my car that you can’t figure it out and fix it in three days?” Sonya sputtered.
Dale, who had only ever been professional with me explained, “Sonya, I left you messages. Both on your home phone and on your cell phone. You need to check your messages. I am concerned that there is really something wrong with your car. Please be patient. I want to make sure we figure it out and fix the problem for you. You can continue borrowing the shop loaner car as long as it takes us to diagnose the problem with the car and fix it.”
Sonya was exasperated. Her arms were in the air before she even had a chance to begin speaking. “Dale, your shop loaner car smells like grease and sweaty men.” I can’t drive this to work anymore. I can’t do it!” I took another step back.
“Sonya, I will give you my car and I will drive the loaner. Here are the keys. It is the black Jeep parked out back. I will call you as soon as I know more about your car.” Dale seemed to have provided as satisfactory temporary transportation solution for Sonya. She took the keys from his hands smiled and said thank you and quickly exited the repair shop front office.
I greeted Dale warmly as he appeared to be a bit frazzled. I paid for my oil change and tire rotation and thanked him for his prompt help.
As I exited the front office, I found Sonya standing on the sidewalk smoking a cigarette. The awkwardness in me took a hold, and I felt the need to initiate a conversation. “You know, those things will kill you. You shouldn’t smoke.”
“That isn’t the first time some has told me that.” Sonya smiled broadly and her hand holding the cigarette flew out to the right. I stepped away yet again as not to be hit by falling ash. “Sorry. I get a little carried away. I was so upset.”
“I could tell. I worried I was going to receive an unintended elbow throat punch.” I smirked as she began to giggle and stepped down hard on her cigarette on the sidewalk.
Sonya quickly approached me and placed her large yet delicate hands on my shoulders. “What are you doing? Let’s get coffee. My name is Sonya. What is your name?”
“My name Is Letty.” I hated saying my name out loud.
“Letty? Like Leticia?” Her arm quickly swooped into the crick of my elbow.
“Letty… as in Letencia.” I slowly shared my full name with her.
Sonya’s left hand came to her mouth. “Bless. That is mouthful. I would go by Letty also!” And then she laughed. She had just insulted my name and then laughed.
Sonya pulled me along down the sidewalk to the crosswalk. She talked the entire time as we crossed the road to the coffee shop on the opposite corner. I never said a word as I studied her hands holding each other, still carefully inserted in the bend of my arm. She attempted to walk that way into the narrow door of the coffee shop and bellowed when she realized her large extended shoulder would never clear the entrance. She released my arm she took my hand as if I were a child that needed to be coaxed indoors.
“Dean! Good morning!” Sonya hollered from the front door. Her free hand shot in the air and she greeted him with a wild wave.
“Sonya! I was waiting for you! Good morning my dear.” She let go of my hand to embrace Dean. She held him close for longer than necessary. A heart to heart hug and warm embrace seemed to recharge both of them. Dean couldn’t stop smiling and Sonya seemed to have quickly forgotten the upset at the repair shop.
That morning was the first of many spent with Sonya. Coffee never tasted so good. We continued meeting at the coffee shop once a week if not more. Dean always greeted us so warmly and Sonya and I became fast friends. She is funny and endearing. Her personality and infectious laughter warmed my soul.
Because of her ability to tell wonderful stories, I found myself sitting in awe of her and just observing. She had so many amazing life experiences and I wanted to know more about her life. I also continued watching her hands move, sometimes so gracefully, other times they threatened to leave her body as she spoke.
I never knew that I would initially care for someone because of their hands. That is what drew me in. Beautiful hands that sometimes told more of story that the words being spoken.
Kelli J Gavin lives in Carver, Minnesota with Josh, her husband of an obscene amount of years and they have two crazy kids. She is a Writer, Professional Organizer and owns Home & Life Organization. You can find her work with The Inner Circle Writers’ Group, The Ugly Writers, Sweatpants & Coffee, Writing In a Woman’s Voice, The Writers Newsletter, Writer’s Unite!, Academy of the Heart and Mind, The Rye Whiskey Review, Spillwords, Mercurial Stories, 121 Words, Hickory Stump, Rabid Oak, HerStry, Ariel Chart, The Basil O’Flaherty, PPP Ezine, Southwest Media, Otherwise Engaged, Story Pub, and The New Ink Review, among others.
Find Kelli on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @KelliJGavin
Blog found at kellijgavin.blogspot.com