I find myself wanting to reach out and touch the people around me. Not in the AT&T, "Make a connection!" sort of way. I mean physically. I find myself craving that contact. I guess it's just been a really long time since I had to go for so long without regular phyical contact.
Don't get all dirty on me - that's not the kind of contact I mean. I'm talking about hand-holding, daily hugs, goodnight kisses, snuggling together before falling asleep - those little things that seem so minor, yet add up to everything that matters. And it's been many years since I've had to do without that.
Last night, I even had a dream about it. About just walking, with a man. It's not someone I know in real-life - it was just a random dream person. He was tall, and we were walking side by side, his arm around my waist and mine around his. My head rested on his chest as we walked, because he was much taller than I am. I looked up at him and asked how tall he was, and he said, "Thirteen inches over you." Then, as I looked, he said, "You have the prettiest eyes," and I grinned and looked down shyly. After a bit more walking, I woke up. Nothing more than that contact, yet it was a wonderful dream.
I miss a lot of things about J. I miss our dinners together - stir fry, sausage sandwiches, avocado chicken. I miss having a built-in partner to walk at my side at every major event I had to attend. I miss his "I'm proud of myself" dance, when he would close his eyes and give his smug little grin and stand there pumping his fists and twisting his ribcage and looking like such a huge dork that I couldn't help but laugh.
But most of all, I miss reaching out in the middle of the night, running the back of my hand across his neck, right where his hair curled up at the end. Many a night I would wake in the dark, anxious or stressed or generally overwhelmed by life, and that light touch would comfort me enough that I could fall back asleep - it anchored me to an uncertain world.
These days, I sleep alone, and when I reach out in the night, I touch a pillow, or a blanket, or the wall, or just air. And more often than not, when that happens, I lie awake, and stare into the darkness, listening to a heavy silence broken only by my own mournful sigh.
Without that touch - and a million others like it - I just feel more alone, more isolated, more frightened of an unknown future.