I’m not very comfortable with physical intimacy. I cannot get into a hug or hold someone very easily. Most hugs, kisses, cuddles with most people don’t make me feel anything.
Physical intimacy could mean different things to different people but it’s something I see close to therapy. There’s something about some people and their touch but I’ve sadly never felt that with any of my lovers.
Like my saro athai’s, her hands were quite rough and scaly from past dermatitis.
As a kid, she bathed me, changed my clothes, powdered me, fed me but her touch never felt too rough or barbed on me. It moved like butter on my skin. She held me like how a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. I slept every night holding her. She was big and warm, smelling of talcum and sweet sweat. When I’m with her, I felt complete, like I had everything, like it’s enough.
My father’s, he’s big. His hugs are even bigger. He always presses my feet. My small foot would get lost in between his giant hands.
I remember feeling quite lost and went and lied next to my dad. He hugged me and the next thing I know, I broke into tears immediately.
Then my sister’s, she keeps holding my hands whenever at night when she’s scared or she realises I’m anxious, and we fall asleep so easily.
And my best friend, who I didn’t realise I was in love with, before boarding his flight, held my hands gently and happily told me he was in love with a woman and left. I sat outside the airport and sobbed like a kid when its favourite plaything was snatched away by someone.
And my colleague’s, who I barely knew for months but before she left back to the other side of the map, we shared quite a long hug probably thinking this could be our last and left immediately, never turned back but I remember the heaviness I felt inside me as I walked back.
And then my chithi’s, the little time I spent with her, every night she hugged me good night. I could feel her heaving chest on my face, her warm skin on mine and I would stay in the hug for few more seconds. Her hugs felt like love and sadness made love and I could feel it.
Every time I think of all of their touches, the physical intimacy we shared, it feels like home, hope and everything safe and spiritual. Like it touches something in you and you’re never the same person again.