All We Need Is A Hand


“This morning, I carried my packages down to the parking lot, still slick from the rain, and loaded them into the car. When I closed the trunk, I saw the white-haired woman who lives in our apartment complex. She stood to one side of the parking lot, at the edge of a large puddle, wearing green clogs and a blue raincoat.

“I can’t get to my car,” she said, still looking down. “I need help.” Her Oldsmobile was only 20, maybe 30, steps away, but scattered puddles lay in her path, and she seemed bothered by them. “I need help,” she said again. I put the car in park.

She looked small and worried. I wanted to help her, not just around the puddle but through the rest of her life. I wanted to protect her, to shield her from physical pain and loneliness, from feeling lost and uncertain. I wanted to meet her need, and in doing so, maybe meet my own. The woman lifted her gaze, slowly, with purpose. I saw her eyes. They were pale blue, tired, and clouded by cataracts.

“Hold my hand?”

Sometimes we all need help. Sometimes we all feel wary of offering it or accepting. But sometimes, all you need is someone to hold your hand. Wendy Fontaine writes an excellent essay about wanting to be wanted and giving help at Literary Mama.

Ashley Perez lives, writes, and causes trouble in Los Angeles. She has a strong affinity for tattoos, otters, cat mystery books, and actual cats, but has mixed feelings about pants. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She runs the literary site Arts Collide and does work of all varieties for Women Who Submit, Entropy, Jaded Ibis Press, and Why There Are Words. You can find her on Twitter at @ArtsCollide. More from this author →