It's not the kind of thing you should ask. At least out loud. How do you comment on this kind of intimacy-this kind of closeness, without offending or diminishing? Another man, a smarter man, would never even think to ask. He would accept it, gratefully, and just appreciate the gesture. And I do appreciate it. But, well, that's not me. I have to ask.

What does it mean,dear-the kisses? The twin kisses on my hands before we part? It is beautiful, but what does it mean?

She smiles, and pulls a lock of hair behind one ear. Then, stepping closer to me she slowly grasps one of my hands and tugs it to her. First to her shoulder, then to her face. She sets it on her cheek-warm to the touch, softer than down. Bending her head to that side, she pauses for a moment and closes her eyes. I don't know if she is surprised I asked or saddened that I cannot just accept the gifts. Take them in without comment.

I wince, but she smiles again and shares the secret:

I kiss them once to let you know how much I love the way you touch me.
I kiss them twice to seal them from pain, to bring them back to me.

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