Touch. Touch of the hand. Touch of color on young cheeks. Why did he feel for the touch? Skin, heart, mind, and soul: all things he owned that could be touched, felt. Why did he feel for the feel?
He was tucked into white linen. Tucked into security, into obscurity. Trapped in the fabrics of the reality called bed. What was in a bed?
He was in a bed.
As was his wife. Anne. His wife’s name was Anne, but what was in a name?
Thoughts. They touched on every surface of feeling he had. Threading themselves together using names, words and the needle of associations. Touch of the hand. Feelings. Security. His wife’s name was Anne, and she lived with him in a reality of linens.
“Touch her hand,” was the thought on tight lips. “Touch flesh with more flesh and we can live in a world of bedtime skin.” But the touch of color on young cheeks only grew dimmer as the white of white linens seeped in through his pores.
No. He could not touch, for he was lying in a land of soft sheet barriers. A meager substitute for the feel of full flesh. For the sin of soft skin. For that ungodly Touch. Touch of the hand. Touch of color on young cheeks. Why was he thinking of touch?
One little yawn, two little sniffs, and three smacks of the lips. Yawn, sniff, smackity smack: all signs of her trying to catch his ear. And he was all hers so he responded in kind. Sniffity sniff, smakity, yawn yawn. He could play this game ‘til the break of dawn.
Or could he?
No. No he could not. He was tired of waiting. Tired of thoughts growing cold in the night. Tired of small sighs lost in thick sheets. Tired of smackity sniff yawns. And somewhat tired because he was just tired and it was bedtime. But mostly he was tired of only thinking ‘touch’ and not touching it.
He tried to move but the linens held strong.
It was then he realized his body was stuck in white cement. It had finally hardened around what was destined to be his corpse.
“That bitch,” he thought. “She got me! Aaw. The bitch got me.” And then he said it out loud.
“You bitch! How dare you, you stupid cunt!”
Anne stirred on the side of the bed that had real sheets, pretending not to hear. But he felt she was taunting him when she gave a sniffity smack into her pillow, in which he knew she hid a smile.
“You dumb bitch. When I get out of here I’ll – Anne!”
Anne was his wife’s name, but what was in a name? Absolutely nothing if the bitch wouldn’t even respond to it.
“Anne!” he sobbed. He was scared.
“Anne!” he cried. He was crying.
How quickly security can turn to threat, while obscurity takes its final hold. How completely the color left the young cheeks as the white of white linens crept in.
The next morning, when Anne found her husband dead, she wished she had touched him goodnight and goodbye.