Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chapter 11: Longing for Touch

They never touched. They never hugged, or kissed, like other families. Some would call them cold. Yet they loved her, Brachy knew they did. They just didn't show it, at least not physically. They didn't feel the need to.

Except for once, when walking back from where Daddy was buried, Miriam reached out and held her hand. They walked that way, the two sisters, fingers entwined, all the way down the dusty path, past the graves and marble monuments. It felt good, sharing feelings without words, sharing love without awkward phrases.

Miriam let go, when they reached the exit, stepping out from under the trees into the courtyard by the parking lot. They stood by the carved water fountain, and freed their hands from each other, ended the contact. They needed to pour water over their fingers, six times in all, to wash away the spirit of death, to be pure. Then, as, its job done, the copper washing cup clanged back against the damp stone basin, Brachy and Miriam walked to the car, in the bright harsh sunlight, separate again, alone.

Brachy hadn't cared before, hadn't even noticed, how solitary her life was. But now she longed to be held; to be cradled in another's arms. She yearned for safety and warmth. She didn't want to be brave any longer, didn't want to hear she was 'dealing with her loss so well'. She didn't want to be independent, and strong, and self sufficient. She wanted to be a little girl again, sheltered and protected from the cold outside.

It was too late now, to change things, to change her family. Touching wasn't a part of their language.

And if Brachy were honest, honest enough to admit to those feelings hidden inside, it wouldn't be enough, even if her family were more demonstrative.

She saw the couples; the models and actresses on billboards and screens, and the real life couples in the streets and the parks. She watched them, boys and girls, men and women. She watched them wrap their arms about each other, and stand close together, and kiss sometimes, when they thought no one was looking.

If only someone would hold her that way, would be with her that way, she'd feel better. She knew she would.

Because then she wouldn't be alone any longer.

She just wanted to be held.


  1. This is a really beautiful piece of writing.

  2. Is this the sme person as Bracha from "Raising Illiterates"? If not, I would chane one of the names to avoid confusion. (And if yes, I would stick to either "Bracha" or "Brachy.")


  3. I always emphasize the importance of Touch. This is the basic and most unnoticed need of humans. Many things in life and in societies are based on Touch policy. Women are the primary source of nurturing, hence Touch, and we ourselves need Touch and being held. Societies that are cold and non-Touch based, are the most pathetically schizophrenic. I think each of us should find own optimal policy of Touch.

  4. Beautifully written. I'm sure this is a sentiment that many can very easily relate to.