'Touch wood' by Paula McGuire

‘I’m a little busy here,’ she grumbled, distractedly.  ‘Please,’ he appealed, ‘touch wood’.  Sigh.  ‘I’m not superstitious.’  ‘Neither am I,’ he reminded, pushing the well-handled clothes peg towards her tensed fingers, ‘just this once’.  One cracked nail grazed the bleached timber: a perfunctory gesture.  Later, as they whipped the newborn urgently from the muggy room, she grabbed up the discarded peg.  His hand clamped around hers, forcing the wood deep into her palm.

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