Hands are servants of the mind. The mind commands and the hands obey, because the mind by itself can do nothing in the world. It sits in its ivory tower and schemes but cannot create or destroy without its trusted servants.
He held the world in his hands, spinning the globe, eyeing the curve of a country before placing the globe back on his desk. A whole world out there and he was stuck here teaching Latin to ignorant brats who had no interest in the subject. He sighed, glanced at his watch and exited his study to stroll down to the first form classroom.
“Higgins why is this page full of ink blots. It’s just not acceptable. You will take better care of your exercise book or suffer the consequences”.
He walked to the open cupboard behind his desk and carefully selected the thinnest of the four bamboo canes for maximum results. His hands lovingly caressing the smoothness of the bamboo he walked towards his target.
” Six of the best I think. Kindly stand and left hand up Higgins.”
Higgins stood and slowly held out his quivering left hand. The Latin master placed the cane under Higgins left hand, allowing the cane to caress before swishing down to release his pent up frustration on the world. This routine was continued until the required number was reached, Left hand, right hand. “Sit down Higgins.”
Higgins scrunched his eyes and tried to dam the tears. He somewhat succeeded as they trickled down his face instead of becoming a torrent. His hands stung and he started rubbing them together under the desk and clenching and unclenching his fist to ease the pain. Thankfully the bell rang five minutes later and he was able to adjourn to a quiet corner of the yard to nurse his wounds.
He sat under a tree and closed his eyes, the dam finally bursting to release a torrent of tears. He remembered a happier time when his father was alive. The right reverend Alistair Higgins pastor of St.Peter the Apostle church. His earliest memories were of his fathers nightly blessings, the placing of hands on his head and the soothing calmness that would follow.His father was a healer, a great believer in the laying on of hands to heal the sick. He would visit all his sick parishioners, sit with them, console them and place his hands on them to transfer Gods healing love. In bible study classes his father would tell him to close his eyes and picture the healing hands of Jesus. To visualize Jesus healing him with those sacred hands. But now his father was dead and he was here, sent to boarding school by his step father to make a man of him. He slipped into reverie and tried to picture Jesus’s healing hands, but felt only resentment and hatred for the perceived injustice and the hurt done to him.
“Higgins. Stand up and conjugate the verb abstineo.”
Higgins stood, his mind blank, unable to think under the intimidating stare of his master.
” I expect all homework to be completed Higgins, without exception. Hold out your left hand. Swish. Right hand. Swish. You may sit down.”
There was a day the Latin master failed to appear for class. Rumor circulated that he was very sick. Four months passed before he again made an appearance. Higgins stared at his nemesis, failing at first to recognize him. Who was this thin, frail, shuddering creature before him. Class was finished and Higgins was exiting the room when the Latin master staggered in front of him. Without thinking Higgins reached out a helping hand and steadied the weary master. Without thanks or acknowledgement the master staggered out of the room. Four months later he was dead.
Higgins waiting in line to file past the coffin of the Latin master recalled all the vicious canings he had received at his hands. He rubbed his hands unconsciously trying to erase the previous hurts. Hovering over the coffin, staring at the image of the teacher he once hated, he placed a forgiving hand on the waxen body and turned the other cheek.