TOUCHING

“Just think, maybe the people with the prettiest eyes have cried the most tears, or the kindest hearts have been hurt the most.” — my 14-year-old sister.

“Where I am is everywhere,”  that phrase used to pour out of my mouth as easily as words pour out of books if people ask, if people read. So easily, that my book has left its words on other pages — how could pages never read, fade away?  I think it’s called giving without ever taking away.  I used to leave maps of my fingerprints painted on skin, washing off into a bottomless drain when skin found the “X” that it wanted to find, that often times was located somewhere on mine. Hands, mouths, skin, doesn't go deep enough. Hands are sometimes too rough, and mouths are far too skilled at telling lies and never calling bluffs, and skin just isn't good enough. I used to walk without shoes for people that would wipe away the blood left behind as if their broken glass wasn't the reason. To live a life without acknowledging, denying, the people who bled for you, and because of you is none other than treason — not to me, but to yourself, for you’ve forgotten that souls need touching too.

Holding. Grabbing. Kissing. Hugging. Rubbing. T O U C H I N G — letters don’t have to be touching to be readable — for you to see the meaning. I want to be like floating letters — the ones that can still make meaning without the physical holding and grabbing and kissing and hugging and rubbing. I want my mind, my heart, my soul to be T O U C H I N G. My body, like spaces between letters, is only a vessel that my spirit is using to connect with the world around me that sees bodies before it sees souls, that sees lust before it sees love, that sees a smile before it sees the hurt, and sees that everything is “fine.”

“Where I am is everywhere” I want that phrase to drip out of my mouth as easily as honey drips through a bendy straw. So easily it never reaches the orifice — if it does, it will come out slightly changed, and slightly bitter. I think it’s called scarring that has come to befit her.  I want the maps of my fingertips to stay rightly crossed over my heart, promising to only seek the “X” that lies in my heart, that somehow finds itself from my actions set apart. Before, hands, mouths, skin, placed themselves above my heart. But, hands aren't always used for art, and mouths aren't always morally smart, and skin doesn't have to be the kick start — to connection and remembrance and definition. I want to connect with others through the dancing of souls and the remembrance of my personhood as a whole and to be defined by the wide spread of my character rather than what my skin does in the dark, mouths spread apart. I don't want to walk without shoes anymore because my feet are now covered with more tar than there is skin and the drops of lifeline left behind are the only reason where I am is everywhere. However, I promise this tar will evolve into scars that remind me that not everybody is worth the tear.

Where I am is in my skin.

Model: Candela Vetrano @candelivetrano

Photographer: Marina Monaco @marinaamonaco