Hand on Heart

Hand on Heart

Hand on Heart

Matthew Richardson

It’s one of those slow awakenings, moving inexorably but imperceptibly through the stages of consciousness as a sunrise does bars of colour. I can still feel sleep tugging at me, urging me to come back under. A long, luxurious stretch under the covers only serves to remind me how comfortable I am. My eyes remain closed.

It is the smell of her perfume that pulls me towards consciousness. I can feel her watching me. I let my hand trace down under the duvet, searching for skin that does not belong to me. She is watching, anticipating where my fingers might touch first, nervous. My knuckles creak from lack of use as I travel further below.

There. What elegance. What beauty. Lazy a second ago, my fingers are suddenly deviant, exploring at will. Bound under bandages, I can still feel the eight inches of scar tissue running down the centre of my chest. My ribcage rises and falls under its own volition. I’m still here.

It seems like an insurmountable effort to open my eyelids, but I manage. Even through the tubes and the breathing apparatus, I knew I could smell her perfume. My eyes close again, but it’s all right. She’ll still be there when I wake again.


As always, any feedback or comments are most welcome!


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