Thursday, June 23, 2005

To Touch You

I can't help it - I touch people. I think I always have, but recently, in this city jammed full of people, I can't get enough.
Nobody's yelled, nobody's jerked away, but then again, nobody else does it. Italian men with traveling backpacks ask me for directions to M street and I touch them gently on the arm, unified as we are in geographic ignorance.

Buses are the worst for me - I'm a secret bus cuddler. Not necessarily with my body or my hands, but with my eyes.

Somehow, plugged into the beanPod, I allow my lazy eyes to roam and rest, taking in details that are not mine to know: the curl of hair against a nape, the spread of toes for balance, the huddle of a shoulder to define personal space. How I love humanity.

I am aware, of course, that left stranded on an island with 95% of these people, I would remorselessly kill them for my own survival (not for food, you see, but because they were so exceedingly annoying).

However, anonymously on the bus, I am allowed to open small doors and plug into this subsurface humanity. I look at grizzled jaws and dead, soft eyes and think: once you were loved, once you were cherished, and here you are in this tall, square world where no one knows your name anymore - how did your mother love you, can I see the mark of it on your skin? Do you remember a time when life was soft and round and you were safe, safe, safe?