the small woman

I have met a small woman. She is not miniature so much as compact. Her hands are downsized wonders, the muscles, ligatures, veins, skin and all the rest that you and I have in a hand exactly the same as ours are, as humans must be, but the scale is changed just enough that somehow, her difference of diminishment inspires awe in me, adulation, fresh perspective. I can tell hers are strong hands. They are as strong, maybe more, than ones sized average. They are webs of pale flesh and wrinkleI am not deaf and do not sign but her hands overflow with speech at my sight.

The small woman sweats confidence. The first time I knew I had a crush on her was when she arrived at my housewarming party loaded with bags of ice, hand-made margarita mix, a personal snack selection, all packed Boy-Scout-tidy into a cooler. The cooler doubled for impromptu seating. I only had five wooden chairs in my kitchen and one leather recliner in my living room, the only non-floor seat in front of the TV. It wasn’t a joke about the extra seating, I needed it. She knew no one and by the end of the night became friends with everyone there. I guess I wasn’t the only one whose heart was won over by her no-holds-barred approach, her easy lean against the counter, her margs made with her tequila (and when that ran out, whatever we could find) at her hands. All night long we were calling out for her: “Small woman! Small woman, will you make me another marg?” If we took our own hands and poured our own ingredients and mixed our own red cups, it would not do. The small woman had to be our bartender. She had to serve us up.

The small woman has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in one go, start to finish. She has broken a lime-juicer with her bare hands. Once, later, at another party, we convinced her to demonstrate for us what she insisted was the only proper way to lap dance on a woman, and while she performed on a very red-faced victim who sat across the table from me, the small woman turned her head and stared me in the eyes as she bumped and ground. Her back undulated in ways I do not know how to move myself. She had not a shred of doubt or second-guessing in her mostly-sober eyes and that clarity blew out my heart and breast, far forward from my body and the protective covering of my ribs and fat and skin. She watched me until I had to blush and bite my lip and look away and maybe after that she was still watching. I only know I could not look to tell you. In those eyes in that moment on that night I had become convinced that the tension between us was no longer kept between us but instead had become such a fullfed, sprawling force that there was no way anyone else in that room escaped feeling it too. I felt we would burn down the room. I was sure we would be the hot topic to rehash after sleep, in the later morning: Did you see Ink Stains and the Small Woman? Did you see what was going on between the two of them? I tell you want, I don’t know what it was but it was something. Then they’d take bets on how long it would take until we were fucking.

I wanted her so much I thought everyone had to be blind and deaf not to notice, that my desire had become two fists in boxing gloves and was busy bludgeoning everyone present in red neon, ringing bike bells, setting off epileptic-lighted fire alarms and raising even the most sexually dead to sniff the air and smell all of the spring that lay on it.