“Can you, please?”
Isaac gave her a doe eyed stare. “Really?”
“I don’t have time to do it myself. I have to get the others done… tonight.”
She batted those dark eyelids and they were like ocean waves upon the shore, crashing against his heart and his love for her.
He gave a nod and a deep sigh.
At the table he stared at the cakes, each one dipped in orange chocolate, lines drawn in them, a green jellybean at the top. They were pumpkins and stabbed in the bottom were white sticks to make them look like suckers.
The cellophane baggies were small, but he managed to get one cake pop in each baggie. It took him an hour—a whole hour, he thought.
Isaac snipped the orange ribbon with the shears, a pair that his big fingers barely fit in the grips of. Each cut sent a bark of pain in his thumb and first finger. He counted as he cut, pulling the ribbon from the spool to a length close to what she had showed him.
He looked at his hands. Oversized. The fingers were calloused from years of hard labor in the outside world. Those things he did easy enough. Need a hole dug? Isaac was the man. Need a tree cut down? Yup, Isaac. And he could take an axe to tree with little thought, the swings fast, furious and often striking with such a solid, jarring thud that most people who heard it thought he had struck stone instead of wood. Need concrete poured or pipes fixed? You guessed it, Isaac could do it for you in half the time most normal men could.
But something as simple as this, as simple as tying a strand of ribbon around a cellophane wrapper with a stick extended from it? He took a deep breath, his barrel of a chest extending outward and deflating as he released it.
The first ribbon lay on the table in front of him. He set one baggie wrapped cake pop on top of it, the white stick pointing at him like an accusing finger. Fingers rubbed together as if he were about to perform a magic trick. He picked up one end, bunny eared it in two fingers. With the other hand, he gripped the other end, bunny eared it over his thumb and into the rabbit hole.
“The hounds gonna chase yah in the hole,” he said and reached for the nub of ribbon jutting between the loop… and missed. The ribbon came free. A breath escaped him and he started over.
Grab. Bunny ears. Hole. Pull.
Over and over, the too large fingers fumbled with the ribbon, pulled it, made the damnable bunny ears, cinched them tight. Over and over he felt the frustration of hands better suited for labor than… than… what? What was he doing?
“How’s it coming?” she asked.
He glanced up at her and saw the aura of an angel before him, her brown hair like a vale, her smile to die for.
Back down at the table, his brows creased, bottom lip sucked in, two upper teeth bit down hard, drew a bead of blood. He looped the bunny ear, pulled the ribbon through the hole and cinched it. A smile came to his brute of a face.
Isaac held the cake pop up for her to see and then looked back at the table. His shoulders sagged, head dipped.
“Only one hundred and seventy four more to go,” she said…