“Toccata” / Memorable Fancies #815

Although the plague finally quit our shores years ago, we’ve never returned to the habit of touching each other. No handshakes, no hugs, no kisses. Even though the danger is long past, touching another, except privately within the family, is still – not prohibited, actually. The real issue is queasiness – the disgust of imagining another’s skin on ours.

Still, the old desires die slowly. There are private touching-parlors where we can pay – probably too much – for anonymous touching, faces hidden from each other by screens, very polite and demure, you know: rapid touching with the fingertips, quick, not lingering, nothing grotesquely sexual, no gasping or crying-out.

But we still have the words, even if they sound old-fashioned now. It’s a sign of affection to say “I touch you,” even though no actual touching takes place. It’s almost as good as touching itself. They say.

I’ve forgotten, actually.



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