Tactile Atrophy

“I had a dream I was touching your face. Not even a dream about sex, but a dream about touching your face. That is how far removed I am from the sense of touch when it comes to you”. I told my husband this over the phone as I placed my cold hand on my warm neck, relishing in the chill that comes from skin on skin touch while talking about a simple, yet so profound, part of life that I am missing out on.

I am fascinated by touch, holding hands, kissing, flush skin and butterfly eyelashes on bare pores and scars. I am fascinated because my sense of touch is in atrophy. My sense of touch and tactile pleasure is in ruins, deteriorating, on a life support machine most days. I know what my heart beat feels like from the inside but not what my husband’s heartbeat feels like from placing my hand on his chest, getting tangled in his chest hair and giving him goose bump flesh electricity. There are so many barriers between our touch. There are so many layers between touch and what we perceive as touch. Layers and layers of clothing, walls, sharp edges, miles, phone wires, words, letters.

I am fulfilled and unfulfilled. I want it all or I want nothing and then I want something in between. I get lost in the moments I’m allowed to hold hands with my love. I am holding onto those moments of veins pulsing through skin and chapped lips. I run my finger over every arm hair and try to remember what my cheek on his neck feels like. I capture it and take it with me. It is a photograph of touch. It is imprinted in between my human skin trifle.That is where the memories of what my husband feels like exist.

When I`m not trying to imprint? The rest of the time? I’m struggling to make sense of my need for tactile interactions and my devotion to my husband. I’m filling my time with substitute sensations of comfort. I am pressing my nose to my cat’s icy wet nose for a rush, I’m hugging coworkers to feed my need for another hit of human connection, I am willingly cutting myself on blades of fuzzy grass, I am remembering what my affair felt like so I can continue to feel human and like I can exist in this skin without the very necessary sensation of unfiltered touch from my husband. I am caught in the folds of my mind’s sheets. I am caught in between what I have and what tangible stand ins I can acquire.

Touch is like a drug for me. It leaves me high and spinning. Lack of it destroys my very fiber. I am waiting for my next opportunity to use, to get lost in it, to surrender and crumble when it’s gone again.

Woman's hand touching wheat in field


About Desiree

Living my truth, one post at a time. View all posts by Desiree

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