Holding hands

Excerpt from Moving Parts by Prabda Yoon (ปราบดา หยุ่น)

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This is an excerpt from the book Moving Parts by Prabda Yoon (ปราบดา หยุ่น), translated by Mui Poopoksakul.

“Can I hold your hand?” Just last Saturday evening, the boy had gone to see a movie, and he’d picked up the line from a cutesy love scene.

The girl sat there awhile, charmed by the idea, before she gave her answer with enthusiasm: “Sure, take it.”

She gave him her left hand.

He took it nervously.

And then the girl sprinted off, disappearing into the luscious glow of the evening sun, leaving the boy to sit there in a tangle of emotions, staring at the third hand he held in his right hand. No one had ever given him their hand so nonchalantly before. Happy? Sure, he could say he was happy, because he’d had a secret crush on the girl for months. Being in possession of her hand surely meant that he’d managed to chisel away a few layers of brick from the wall separating their personal spaces.

But the happiness dissipated in no time, replaced instead by anxiety.

He didn’t know how to behave toward the girl’s hand no that he had it.

As the dusky sky set in, the boy decided to go home.

“Hurry up and have a shower, sweetie. I’ve got dinner ready,” his mother caught sight of him coming in just after she heard the front door shut. She was standing in the kitchen, peeling yellow-fleshed oranges. Her eyes toggled back and forth very quickly from her son to the fruit, but she was eagle-eyed enough to spot the foreign object in his hand. She immediately did a double take, turning her head with a whoosh. “And whose hand have you got there, huh?”

“A friend from school’s, Mom.” Although his account was not precisely truthful, it didn’t quite fall under the category of a lie either. But when he added out of nervousness that “sh—he lent it to me”, well, now he was toeing a mighty fine line between sin and innocence.

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Moving Parts – Summary

Here is the book summary from Goodreads:

Surreal and puncturing short stories from the Thai master of the form.

In a pink-walled motel, a teenage prostitute brings a grown man to tears. A love-struck young boy holds the dismembered hand of his crush, only to find himself the object of a complex ménage à trois. A naked body falls from the window of a twenty-story building, while two female office-workers offer each other consolation in the elevator…

In these wry and unsettling stories, Prabda Yoon once again illuminates something of the strangeness of modern cultural life in Bangkok. Disarming the reader with surprising charm, intensity and delicious horror, he explores what it means to have a body, and to interact with those of others.

Copyright © 2002 by Prabda Yoon (ปราบดา หยุ่น).

Translated by: Mui Poopoksakul.

More details can be found on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.