Anna Bradfield Writes

Discovering the extraordinary in everyday life

The Touch That Moved Me

Conference calls…ugh! Though worthwhile, they can be draining, especially after two full days of back-to-backs. I experienced this recently. Near the end of Day Two, I thought I might pull my hair out.

I had about 20 minutes before my final call. When I went to refill my water glass…are you kidding me?…I found the cooler empty.

Okay, it’ll only take a few to fill this five-gallon monster up, I reasoned, throwing the empty in the trunk and hauling it to the grocery store.

I made a beeline to the store’s self-fill cooler.

I had begun filling when I felt a hand on my shoulder. Before I could turn, the hand stroked my arm, as gentle as a whisper. The underside of my fleece sweatshirt kissed my skin with the pressure.

I expected to see a familiar face but found a new one instead. He was shorter than me, which was surprising considering my 5’4” stature. It made sense when I noticed the large hump on his back. He didn’t look at me; in fact, his head cocked to the left while his neck turned his focus about 15 degrees to his right. His thick shock of hair haloed his face in a bowl cut. His expression held neither recognition nor malice. His face revealed neither laugh nor worry lines.

Just into his second stroke, a lady came whirling around the corner. “No, no, you’ve already greeted her,” she said. “Come on. You have shopping to do.” The man’s expression didn’t change. He didn’t acknowledge this woman whom, I presume, was his job coach. He just turned and shuffled away. The coach said, “Remember, you need to use your words,” as she followed behind.

While I watched, I realized that this was my first touch of the day. And it couldn’t have been more pure.

It moved me. It moved me.

For once, I was glad for the five-gallon fill time; I could use it to pull my emotions together before heading to the check-out.

I saw him a minute later pushing his little cart with his iPad shopping list, his head positioned in its peculiar way. His eyes held no more awareness than a billboard.

He would never know the value of his gift. I would never be able to reach his spirit, much less his mind, and return the favor.

Could anything be simpler, yet more profound, than touch?

Your Inspiration Prompt: Until next time, I wonder…whom might you bless with this gift, in its purest form?

Share your thoughts in the Comments section.

 photo credit: <a href=”″>New Life</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

About Anna Bradfield

Anna Bradfield has been spinning tales, exaggerating the truth, and flat-out lying almost as long as she could talk. Nowadays, though, she calls it fiction. Buy her ebooks, Hey Grampa! or Barnyard Babies today. Join the online community and receive a free copy of her ebook, Boy Crazy.

3 Replies

  1. I too have had this experience Anna. This past summer on vacation I met a young man who is autistic. His name is Spencer. Love this story, brought tears to my eyes because a single touch can be so profound, yet to another a bother. How sad for the ones who feel bothered by someone different. I like to think it’s an angel test!

    1. Anna Bradfield

      So glad you enjoyed my recounting, Sherrie. I always feel like the simplest things in life are also the most profound. I can be busy, busy, busy, not feeling like I have time to enjoy giving or receiving something as simple as a squeeze of the hand or a touch on the shoulder. But when I take the time — as you did this summer with Spencer or as this fellow shopper did with me in the grocery store — I am truly blessed. There’s a connection that occurs that is hard to describe. In that simple touch, you just can’t help but feel like everything’s gonna be alright, you know?

  2. Many times I’m perceived as shy as a result of the cumbersome social etiquette of using words. Yet I would be drastically misunderstood if I greeted someone in the same way without the endearing peculiar mannerisms. I’ve been enjoying your short blog writings.

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