When I wake up, I feel the soft quilt and the coating of warmth it layers onto my skin. The soles of my feet feel the cool floor, in the kitchen, the skin on my face feels the moist warmth of the steam as it rises off the boiling water, my tongue, tentatively feels the comfortably hot sweetness of the honey and the tang of lemon in my morning tea. The worn china cup, sits warm in my cupped palms.
My skin has a memory of its own.
There are sights and sounds and smells that have become a part of me; and there are some that I’ve forgotten. But my skin records its own version of my history. Between the wrinkles and loose folds of my skin lie memories of hands held, my waist carries the imprint of his rough fingers, the skin on my neck remembers the harsh brushing of his stubble-d chin. The soles of my feet remember resting in his palms.
I don’t remember what he looks like , or the colour of his eyes. But I remember what he felt like. Rough, like the sand in my clothes after a day at the beach. And surprisingly soft at his shoulder – just where I would rest my chin, at a little hollow, as if it was made to the size of my chin. I remember how the frown lines on his forehead smoothed away under my fingers. I don’t see us anymore, sitting together, or looking at each other. But my skin would know him if it met him again.
“Why does your skin shine there?”
“At the back of your hand”
“It must be proud of itself…” I said, and smiled teasingly at him. His thumb passed over it many times then.
“And the other scar, does that shine too?”
He made me tell the stories of my scars over and over again.
His fingers stopped wandering the length of my spine, halting at the little dot-like depression.
“How did this land here?”
“That’s from a biopsy.”
And I launched into the tale of the painful night and how I ended up calling my doctor at 4 am. Not even halfway through the story, I noticed he’d slept, his unbelievably soft head resting on my arm. The skin on my arm remembers his face.
Over breakfast that Sunday, the last time that I saw him, we barely touched. We were too busy leaving.
That last day, he looked at me so intensely, I felt his eyes had touched my soul. é