Four fingers lying on a white linen cloth. They looked out of place. I stared at them wondering what were they doing there. They were fat, sort of stubby and quite pink. I didn't recognize them so they couldn't be his. I wouldn't have forgotten fingers like that, so out of agreement with the rest of him. But there they were.
The fingers lay in plain view on the white linen. I couldn't see the rest of the hand. One would have to assume it was there concealed below the table edge. One would also have to assume the unseen hand was connected to an arm presumably occupying the sleeve of his suit jacket. Well, there was something occupying the sleeve. I assumed it was an arm.
But even with all these assumptions, I was still having trouble with the fingers, a matched set of four lying slightly splayed on the linen. I panned from the fingers to the sleeve, from the sleeve to the shoulder, from the shoulder over to the collar. Nothing strange about the neck. The neck supported a head that looked for all intents and purposes like his head. It was wearing his face. I knew that face too well.
I had to dismiss the argument that the fingers belonged to somebody else. But one thing kept nagging at me. If they're his then those fingers have been all over me and I don't even know them. That didn't feel right. I didn't like it. And I still didn't recognize them. The big question was why. And the facts pointed to one conclusion. I'd never noticed them. You see I thought I knew so much. But I guess I just assumed. I guess I assumed a lot in those days. Funny how that happens.
I looked back at the fingers. They hadn't moved. They lay on the starched white linen like four fresh fish on ice, pink, plump and slightly splayed. And I thought to myself, "My God, those are his fingers. And seeing them now as his, I found them touching, beautiful even. But it was a little late for that.