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The Red Gloves (story)

by Maria Francesca

She found them on the sidewalk outside a cemetery. They were pristine. They were beautiful. They were calling to her.

She bent down to touch them. The leather felt oddly warm on this crisp October afternoon and really, her hands were freezing...she picked them up.

"We're warm inside," they whispered. "Feel us...so buttery soft...made just for you...Try us on..."

She threw them to the sidewalk with a small shriek, backing slowly away from them. Again, they called to her:

"We'll warm you, we'll love you, we'll give you your fondest wish if you'll only try us on!"

She stopped backing away and stared at them for a moment, then muttered to herself, "Gloves can't talk. I must be going crazy...May as well be crazy with warm hands!" And with that, she snatched them up and put them on.

The gloves hadn't lied; they were warm. They were buttery soft. And wearing them, she suddenly felt toasty all over, as though she were being hugged by a fat, loving grandmother.

She wore them back to her apartment, removed them and tossed them on the table by the door. As soon as they were off, she found that she was freezing all over, and she suddenly felt bereft and lonely, as though she would never be happy again. Without thinking about the logic of her action, or lack of such, she slipped her hands back into the gloves, and everything felt right again.

She found that she could accept the strangeness of the situation as long as she was wearing the gloves. When she went to take them off to cook dinner that night, she discovered that even starting to remove them actually seemed to hurt her heart. So she kept them on.

She couldn't bear to be apart from them long enough to take a shower, so she just turned on the spray and stepped into the stall, her gloved hands held high in the air above her head, safe from the hot water.

I didn't even occur to her to take them off for bed that night. She climbed between the sheets, red gloves and naught else, and waited for sleep.

Sleep never came. She turned from side to back to belly to side, and could barely even manage to blink, let alone sleep.

She gave up at around one a.m., padded across her bedroom and sat down at her computer. She turned it on and started typing.

Words appeared on the screen at an alarming rate, and she read them, fascinated, as they told a beautiful tale of love and longing and lonliness and insanity, and even she found it odd that she only wondered once, and for the briefest of moments, who was writing the story. She was no writer, after all, and had never in her life entertained a single fanciful notion.

Never mind...not important. She continued to type. The room brightened as the sun came up, then darkened as it descended. Still she typed. The sun rose and set again. Still with the typing. Her fingers ached, her shoulders hurt, her eyes stung furiously. More typing. At some point, she began to suspect that some of the red of the gloves wasn't from the gloves at all, but from her worn-out fingertips, which were beginning to scream with pain. The only thing that could possibly hurt more than her fingers would be removing the gloves, and that was okay, because there was no way that would ever happen.

And it never did, either. Four days later, when the police broke down the door at the request of her worried friends and family, they found her still sitting ram-rod straight in front of her computer, still naked, eyes still staring at the screen. No gloves.

Nobody could figure out what it was that killed her, and everyone was, incidentally, astonished to learn that she had been such a gifted novelist. The story she had written on her word processor captivated all who read it, and her family decided to publish it. It seemed fitting that fame should come to her, albeit posthumously, since this story was the last thing, really the only thing, she had ever created in her otherwise unremarkable life.

...As her sister was on her way home from visiting her grave, a year after her death, she happened to notice a pair of red gloves on the sidewalk just outside the cemetery. They were pristine. They were beautiful. They were calling to her.

09/07/2005

Posted on 04/07/2008
Copyright © 2020 Maria Francesca

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