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Best Husband So Far, Hands Down

An Ode to Mr. Roshell on Our 25th Anniversary

Before you, I never paid much attention to a boy’s hands. They just weren’t on my radar the way those other, more typical physical fixations were.

And yet, I noticed your manos right away. Soft, smooth skin stretched taut over long, elegant fingers. Just like a magician’s hands: nimble, busy, mesmerizing.

An artist, musician, and tinkerer, your hooks always seemed to be reaching for something to create, to play, to build. As both an extension of your industrious character and the pliant means of scratching your ardent itch to improve the world around you, your hands were ever grasping for a problem to solve, a brokenness to fix.

And just like a magician’s, they turned everything you touched into something better. Something beautiful. Something bewitching. From the first time we hugged — as I dashed from that party, jumpy and guarded, and you tugged me in gently and held me close, your electric palms pressed flat against my shoulder blades — I fell in love with your hands and what they could do. How they made me feel safe and cared for, at once stimulated and soothed, like you had all the tools we’d ever need in life just dangling conveniently from your sublime wrists.

I wasn’t wrong. It’s been 25 years since we grasped each other’s trembling paws on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and slipped rose-gold rings onto one another’s naked fingers. But I still swoon watching your agile, ambitious hands conjure up the countless delights that characterize our shared life:

Spidering deftly over the frets of your guitars as you entertain crowds. Commanding your mouse and keyboard to manipulate pixels into sleek designs. Reflexively grinding the beans and foaming the cream for our morning coffees, or methodically flipping and slicing the tri tip for our evening feast. Expertly tossing the football to our boys in the street. Dexterously decorating birthday envelopes with swirling, calligraphic letters. Charitably massaging my legs after a long day or kneading my scalp to banish a looming migraine. Constructing dressers, bookshelves, cabinets, fences, and a twinkle-lit pergola for the backyard hammock that we escape to when it’s all just too much.

Now, I don’t mean to sell you short. You scored just fine on those classic attributes: warm eyes, deep voice, full lips, and a killer caboose. (I know you said I could only write a mushy column about you if I included “the size of your schlong.” You’re welcome.)

But your hands. Your hands are the agents of your heart; they’re how you manifest and even flaunt the qualities that really make you exceptional: kindness, patience, ingenuity, humor, confidence, talent, and style.

For two and a half decades, we’ve held hands across airplane aisles during takeoffs and landings. During long walks and tearful talks. As I dragged you onto untold dance floors and into umpteen shoe shops. While teaming up for god-awful lunges during brutal beach workouts. And as our children came screeching into this world.

Your hands aren’t as soft as they used to be, and I know I’m to blame. Decades of strumming and building and making a woman feel loved beyond measure will leave callouses; they just will. But those magic mitts have abracadabra’d the last quarter century into something utterly enchanting for us both — which is why you’ll always have my heart.

It’s in your hands.

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