• Jonathan Shayfer

Touch

We have quietly, almost without noticing, drifted into a new strange awareness. We have become something other than ourselves.

I now look at scenarios on TV from that pre-Covid time with couples kissing and having sex, people shaking or holding hands, group hugs - and it all looks profoundly wrong as if the population of the entire world has overnight transformed into an extreme version of a touch-taboo reserved Englishman. We have grown so used to distancing, to being physically apart and not actually being allowed to touch one another. The space between us is laden with unseen dangers, possibly harmless, potentially lethal.

We are now little islands of flesh and bone and not much else. We yearn to reach out and be tactile and immerse ourselves in each others' physicality but the end game could find us in a Covid ward fighting for breath.

And so, we go on, we strive and survive, we doggedly persevere in our little social bubbles, not truly knowing if they'll burst or pop open like a plague-ridden buboe from that other deadlier plague also known as 'The Great Mortality.'

Will there come a time soon when I can kiss a smiling lady, hug my isolated mother, shake the hand of an old friend as if all of this was a bad dream - or will its numbing effect stay with us for many over cautious years?


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