My online world is sight and sound. Words on a page or a screen are often touted to "touch" someone or "strike a chord." Though words can inspire, tire, even foster desire, there is nothing quite like a poke in the ribs to get your undivided attention. A hand laid gently on the shoulder connects two people immediately and forges a physical link impossible to duplicate with any word or whisper.
Our society has established many boundaries and rules for the proprieties of touching each other, because it is such a powerful sensation. Yet I know that nothing reassures a half-sedated and thoroughly-confused patient like the gentle touch of a nurse or the warm pressure of a loved one holding your hand. Nothing touches the heart like the feather touch of a grandchild's tiny hand on the venerable face of a doting grandfather, or the quiet peace of a grandbaby snuggled in your arms, content to dream in your embrace. Touch says: "I am here!" It says: "I am not alone!"
My soul must grow or wither away,
Every second, every day;
And both sight and sound must feel, to play
The harmonies of my living lay.
I touch the world and it touches me:
A partnership of necessity.
Without that most tactile reverie,
My song would falter and silent be.
Could I not feel life's most tattered thrum,
While holding it twixt finger and thumb,
My soul would fade and my heart grow numb:
I know I would to despair succumb.
Yet the briefest touch or swift caress
(Even a slap in the face, I guess),
When human shell, under sweet duress,
Senses connection and tenderness --
It makes my world of shadows and stone,
Where a sense of "other" is unknown,
A tactual realm of blood and bone.
I know that I am not alone.