We walk along the street, the dog zig-zagging from one smell possibility to another, and her hand reaches out to find mine.
She is twelve years old. Confident of her selfhood but not always of the world. Beautiful. Logical. Full of deep, careful thoughts. And she holds my hand.
This gesture of connection stretches my heart. A heart that grew so much on the day she was born that it felt like it cracked its outer shell, and yet her smooth, cool fingers expand it again.
In the grocery store. On a walk. While camping. At the mall.
To be trusted by such a being, to be loved by such a girl-woman, to have her seek me out… It is a beautiful connection. It is a beautiful hand. A beautiful world.