You forget how good it feels to be touched until you walk this world without. Until you sit in stifling silence and realize it’s been weeks, or maybe months, since someone’s skin connected with yours.
In an unfamiliar city it’s easy to lose yourself among faces. To slip into the tasks set before you and smile like you’ve got this new life figured out. But the lowlight burns cold after hours, when your breath dances with the wick of flame atop your table, when you fall without knowing into a simple routine of alone. No one to tuck you in and chase away the terrible dreams. No haphazard tangle of legs. No one to slip their arms around your waist and just hold you, while you dip your head onto their shoulder and fall away from the struggle of doing this charade—being brave and looking for a fit that does not want to be found.
Count up the hours without fingers laced together or dust of lips on cheek, gather and fill them in a bottle that ever expands; each second that slips void of contact cracks your heart crooked. You pray to God to be close, but He doesn’t physically bend and curl beside you when you’re huddled in bed at the end of a day that passed too long in solitude. This is the worst, when your soul screams out to be comforted but you’re only met with inky black silence staring dry-eyed at the wall. You tremble yourself to sleep.
Touch. One of the five senses for a reason. The sensors under our skin radiate what grows our heart. Do they dim when usage dips? Do we lose their strength the more we go without? You just want to keep them flowing, warm and alive and building you back to how it was when you were surrounded by bodies that knew you so well. A draft sweeps through the barren spaces that dust over with neglect. You pull a blanket tight around yourself, plush material imitation for tonight, skin sinking into fold of fabric.
This cycle won’t end, grieving goodbye. Gone, the days you never thought twice about: of rubbing arms, the twitch of heads huddled close, hips bumping between spark of sun.
Now, the remembrance of careless caresses stream through memory like a torrent of sharp jabs, absence of reality a trap in time, when you were loved, when you reached out a shaking hand and immediately another rose to still it.