Your hand enclosed mine. Completely engulfed it. I had never felt so safe in the dark. Whatever rustled in the trees would be no match for you, of that I was sure. I was safe as long as you stayed close. There were no rabid mountain lions. There were no psychotic mountain men. There were no ghosts of painful pasts. Just your hand. Your strength. Your quiet protection.
Now, my hand is closed. I protect myself. Not from rabid mountain lions. Not from psychotic mountain men. Not from ghosts of painful pasts.
I protect myself from illusions. False memories. Broken connections. I keep my hands at my sides, my head down. I focus on the path in case I stumble and in my insecurity reach out for a hand that isn’t there.