Her hands had been beautiful. Long, slender fingers, covered by smooth supple skin. Nails always manicured, but never polished. She felt that the color of nail polish detracted from the natural beauty her hands possessed. People had always admired them, and she had always been rather proud of them. She wore cotton gloves to bed to protect them and moisturized three times daily with milk and honey. Now as she examined the hands that had been a source of so much pride, even vanity, she admitted, an overwhelming sense of melancholy settled over her. Hers were no longer the hands of a young woman. Time had stolen everything from her. The hands were still beautiful, despite age, but they served as a constant reminder of all she’d worked for and all she had lost. These were the hands that had tenderly caressed the face of a young lover, lost to war. These hands had created watercolors and oil paintings equal in skill and content to any of the masters. They had tended to injured soldiers and given comfort to the sick, many of whom passed from life, while still within her grasp. These hands had gently stroked the hair of peacefully sleeping babies. These hands had then been suffered to bury the same babies. One hand had worn the ring of a man she knew was her soulmate. These hands had clung to him, but failed to hold him there.
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