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by:  Patricia A. Walton

It's a shaking hand sliding a shiny gold band onto another shaking hand.

      It's an anxious hand tugging on a suddenly shy hand.

It's hands touching in sudden tenderness, or swinging together down a crowded street, or fingers interlocked in the darkness of a theater.

      It's expressive hands, the playful pat on the fanny, the beckoning wave,
      the rumpled hair... and sometimes, but not often, the clenched fist.

It's ecstatic hands, being grasped by tiny brand-new hands.

      It's hurrying hands, setting dinner for hungry hands.

It's an optimistic hand patting a discouraged hand.

      It's a panicky hand clutching a calm hand.

It's a proud hand introducing an embarrassed hand.

      It's joyous hands grasping happy hands...
and hands sharing sadness with a touch.

It's healthy hands holding sick hands.

      It's a strong hand supporting a grief-stricken hand.

It's also tear-stained hands entwining other tear-stained hands.

      It's hands joined in prayer.

and finally, it's a shaking hand, sliding a dull gold band off a very still hand.