Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Words by Shrena D’Souza
Featured photo by Ariana (@formeforfilm)
Touch. Caress. Feel. Strike.
The internet and English language alone has multiple synonyms for the word touch. One of the meanings given to the word by Merriam Webster goes as ‘to be briefly in contact or conjunction with something’. In contact. Another synonym. I saw this video of this Indian father raise a toast at his gay son’s wedding. I thought it was truly ‘touching’. Huh. Strange little word, with yet another meaning.
When I think of it, right this moment, I could be short of fingers to count the synonyms of the word, interpretations, its application too. Maybe there aren’t as many as I think, but I’m not going to start counting. I’m a Virgo and I like my hyperbole.
An epiphany, but, speaking of stars, with the vacuum, and the distance of light years, there’s still contact made in space every now and then. Carl Sagan once referred to the earth as a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam; the light of the earth, a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. He discussed how in the 17th century there was still some hope that even if the earth was not the center of the universe, it might be the only ‘world’, and if not, the sun must be. The sun is after all, our sun, which brings us close to being the center of the universe. Only to be proved wrong again in the 19th century when observational astronomy had made it clear that the sun is but one lonely star in a self-gravitating assemblage of suns, called the Milky Way galaxy. Interesting, the use of the word lonely. Would touch soothe the sun? Close contact? Gentle caress? Perhaps not.
But you see, personally, I love the sun and I want to be like the sun, but I’m affectionate and I like the idea of contact.
I visited the Philippines earlier this year and spent a day in Intramuros where I touched ruins of old canons, walls of tiny jails, and about a hundred other surfaces I probably shouldn’t have touched, in hindsight. But I am deeply fascinated by history and it feels crazy to think that my touch in that moment felt like a connection with everyone who came in contact with it before me, be it the local inhabitants of the lost city centuries ago who once used and lived within those very things or a tourist who was probably there minutes before I was and now, like me, through touch, has their own version of history with a random piece of metal or stone kept as a significant mark of the past in a country, miles away from mine.
So do my thoughts seem random to you? Or do you see the connection, the link, and contact between my encounters with the word ‘touch’? If you don’t, I do see why. I’m trying to let my mind flow and now that you know I’m a Virgo you must guess that it is hard to do this without a plan, but ironically, sometimes you see wonders when you give something space.
While I might sit here and romanticize my version of touch, I do feel the need to leave behind a disclaimer of just how detrimental its effects could be right now. So as far as the sun may be, continue to love that big, bright ball and also do continue to yell a big and shrill ‘Ew’ and leave that fellow shopper with a death stare every time they’re simply too close.
Until next time.