Barbara Covett: "People like Sheba think they know what it is to be lonely. But of the drip, drip of the long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. What it's like to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the launderette. Or to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. Of this, Sheba and her like have no clue."
Notes on a Scandal
That's just not true. It's everywhere. You feel the jolt everywhere. Down your spine, oppressing your chest, eyes shut tightly, hands finding only each other.
I don't know what it is about touch that seems to knock me off of my senses. Maybe it's the difference in temperature, in texture. The motion of strange muscles pressing under familiar skin. Maybe it's the thrill of unknown, dangerous pleasure. Maybe it's the million nerve endings shooting everywhere, panicking, bursting into want, into want into need.
And I don't talk about formal, simple contact with no meaning, no purpose aside from the obvious. Explosive and arbitrary. That's not the kind of touch I mean.
You see, after a while, it's true. My skin seems to try and separate itself from my flesh, searching, stunned at any random encounter with strange skin, aching, stinging, exhilarated, retreating.
It's a matter of seconds for the electricity to run down my spine, arching my back, realizing its own impossibility, closing itself into a single bitter statement. Not being released in the next exhalation, nor the next, nor the one after that.
Sometimes the other senses help me. They become overly aware of their surroundings, and I'm overloaded, numb. It doesn't last very long, though. Soon my skin is jumping, fighting its own quiescent nature. Going off like an alarm in the desert, ringing far away, easily forgotten.