The next day, when Gina and Lenny woke up, they were still holding
Lenny's eyes flickered open and his slow-returning
consciousness took in the facts that he was in his bed, lying on his
back, and with some small shock and sudden recognition, side by side
Gina was also fully dressed and also starting to awake. Her
eyes showed the same slow-dawning realisation evident in Lenny's - that
she was lying in his bed again, and holding his hand,
They quickly glanced down, then at each other, the
familiarity of the other's presence overpowered by the remembrance that
they were no longer together. They gave a small, simultaneous cough and
started to roll away to opposite sides of the bed. Their hands,
however, remained locked, and neither of them went
"Lenny, let go of my hand please," Gina said.
"What are you talking about? You're the one with the
vice-like grip here, not me."
Gina sighed. "Stop being stupid Len, I have to go. I have to
go to work."
"Then let go of my hand."
"You let go of me."
"Oh God," said Lenny.
"I think we're stuck together."
"What are you talking about? How can we be stuck together?
We're not even, well, together anymore."
"Gina, I'm just looking at this logically -"
"There's a surprise," Gina muttered.
"If I can't let go of you, and you can't let go of me, I'd
say we're stuck. I'm not doing this on purpose."
Gina let out a loud sigh and rolled her eyes.
"I thought we worked everything out last night. Is this
another bloody scheme to get us back together? Because if it
"Of course it isn't! Do you think I want to be stuck here
"You do, don't you? Jesus Christ, I'm getting us out of
Lenny made to move, but was pulled back to the bed by Gina's
weight. He shot her a look that told her he needed her co-operation
and, after rolling her eyes again, she moved with him from the
First they went to the bathroom, awkwardly, their movements
completely lacking synchronisation, so that they walked in differing
directions, at differing speeds, and had to force themselves through
doorways at the same time.
Heavily lathered soap vigorously rubbed into their entwined
hands had little effect, so they bundled back through to the kitchen,
both of them trying to lead, both of them having to squash through
doorframes and between tables and chairs. They had once occupied this
space together, but it had never seemed so cramped
Lenny went to open the cupboard under the sink at the exact
same time as Gina and, pulling together, it didn't open. Lenny loosened
his grip and Gina removed the washing-up liquid from inside the
cupboard. The washing-up liquid proved equally as useless as soap
though, as did butter, as did mayonnaise (Gina shooting an accusing
glance at Lenny for the supermarket-own brand), as did thousand-island
dressing, as did vinaigrette. Lenny looked down at their gloop-covered
hands, still frustratingly stuck together.
"Oh shit!" Gina exclaimed.
"I'm going to be late."
"You can't go to work while we're like this!"
"I have to - I've got an important meeting. I've not even had
a shower. Oh shitting bloody hell," said Gina, making a start for the
bathroom. Lenny followed on, uncertain of what to do, but curious as to
how Gina taking a shower with them like this was going to
Once inside the bathroom, Gina attempted to take off her
blouse using just her free right hand, but she was having
"Don't look," she said.
"What do you mean?" said Lenny. "Oh come on, I've seen you
naked millions of times."
"Not in the last six months you haven't."
Lenny looked furiously at the bathroom door until he heard
Gina curse loudly and thrust her hands down.
"What's up now?"
"You're going to have to help me," she said.
Lenny started helping her with the buttons one by one, their
combined efforts proving considerably more successful that Gina's
"Stop bloody looking," said Gina.
"For God's sake," said Lenny, but his eyes returned to the
His gaze remained locked on the hook attached to the back of
the bathroom door whilst Gina washed herself with her one available
hand, cursing at the awkwardness as she did so. Finally she finished
and snatched the towel from Lenny's outstretched hand.
"If this is a wind up," she said.
Still half-wet, Gina led Lenny down to her car and they
bundled into the driver's side, Lenny lifting himself over the gear
stick and handbrake with difficulty.
"If this is a wind up," he said.
Gina's car made its slow, jolting way towards her work,
smooth gear changes proving distinctly problematic.
"Sometimes I could kill you Lenny." Lenny rolled his eyes. Gina
By a stroke of luck, Gina's meeting has been postponed, and
Gina was able to make her excuses and leave soon after they arrived
once she realised her presence was not entirely necessary. Gina's boss
gave Lenny a funny look. Lenny stared at his feet. Gina looked
apologetic and ill. They left.
Eating together proved difficult also. Lenny couldn't cut his
meat unless Gina held it down for him, whilst Gina chased her salad
around the plate until Lenny helped her keep it in one place. They sat
and watched television for most of the day.
"Is this how boring your life usually is?" said
"Days never usually go this slowly," said
"They'd go even faster if you had a job," Gina
"Faster than you?" Lenny said. Countdown
Lenny held the pan. Gina stirred the pasta. Gina held the
sieve. Lenny emptied the pan. They ate in subdued silence, Lenny
helping Gina, then Gina helping Lenny.
"This isn't so bad," said Lenny.
That night, Gina had arranged to meet her ex-boyfriend, the
one after Lenny. Lenny wasn't keen about going along too, but he had
little choice. Gina's ex was called James.
"Let me get this straight," said James. "You're stuck
"Yes," said Gina.
"But you're not even, you know, together."
"Tell me about it," said Gina.
"What happens when you have to go to the toilet?" said James,
suppressing a smirk.
Gina and Lenny looked at their drinks.
"What the hell did you see in him, anyway?" said Lenny
"He wasn't you," said Gina.
Gina called in sick again the next day. And the day after.
The day after was Saturday. Round the house, general chores were
getting easier. They'd already mastered cooking, and sleeping side by
side only caused problems if one of them rolled over, which wasn't
often anymore. Washing and going to the toilet was still embarrassing,
although even that became less of a problem as time passed.
On Saturday they made a picnic and went to the park. Lenny
looked out of the window while Gina drove, his hand following hers
through the gear changes.
"It's a lovely day," said Gina, pulling at the corkscrew
while Lenny held the bottle.
"We're not so bad are we?" said Lenny. Gina poured the
Along with Sunday came Gina's usual visit to her parents'
house for dinner. It was sunny outside again and they were having a
barbecue. Gina was hesitant about going, but Lenny didn't want to get
in the way of her normal routine.
"Not again," he said.
Gina's parents and younger siblings looked at Lenny in much
the same way Gina's boss had done. However, there was more history here
for Lenny to cling onto, and so he managed to smile his way through the
"We're stuck together," he explained. Gina's little sisters
found this very amusing, and Lenny played catch with them. Gina stood
by, watching, smiling. James arrived when the sun went red and hung
around near the treetops. He had been invited by Gina's
"Still stuck to him, then Gina?" he said.
"Yes," said Lenny.
James joined in with the game of catch whilst Gina talked
with her mother.
"But how did it happen, this hand thing?" she said.
"Beats me," said Gina.
They turned to watch as James ran after the ball at the same
time as Francis, Gina's youngest sister, at eight, and sent her
crashing into the fence with the effort. Francis starting bawling.
Lenny shook his head.
"I told you it would be okay," said Lenny as they lay in bed
"I had a nice time," said Gina.
The next day, when Gina and Lenny woke up, they were still
holding hands. But when Lenny moved to turn off the alarm clock, his
and Gina's fingers unlocked. Lenny turned off the buzzer and looked at
Gina, who was still asleep. He slowly put his hand back where it had
been and held it there until Gina awoke.
"What's up?" said Gina sleepily, when she started coming
around. Lenny unclasped his fingers and showed her.
"Oh," said Gina. "Right. I'd better go to
Gina showered and Lenny lay in bed, looking up at the
ceiling. He listened to the sound of water from the bathroom, as he did
sometimes, when he wanted to remember.
Lenny saw Gina to her car. He flexed his newly-freed hand,
the circulation returning properly, creating a tingling feeling that he
couldn't decide if he liked or not. Gina opened the car door and turned
to look at Lenny.
"It doesn't change anything you know," she said. "We can talk
and hold hands forever and it still won't make a difference. You know
that, don't you Lenny?"
"Bye Gina," said Lenny, reaching to embrace her. She put her
arms around his back and pulled him to her. They stood together as the
traffic, human and automotive, passed them by
"Are you planning on letting go anytime soon?" he said
"You're the one holding so tight."