Eventually you come to a point in life where the number of people you know—-them what breathes—-are equally balanced with the people you knew—-them what don’t. This happens to be a them what don’t post about a woman named Mickie.
If you’ve ever had the occasion to fill out an online profile designed for folks who hate filling out online profiles, you inevitably came across the incomplete statement, “The first thing people usually notice about me is”. With Mickie, it was her voice. Spoken, it was smooth enough to polish silver. Singing? It was cool and blue and crystalline and bright enough to transport you to better times, despite whatever kind of mood you were in.
Her hope was to pursue a singing career, and every summer she would trudge down to Washington Square Park, guitar in tow, and sing to anyone who would listen to her. Even though she was an atheist, she hoped the god of dumb luck would smile down upon her and help her get discovered. And even though that never happened, it didn’t stop her from trying.
I have no pictures of her and only the vaguest of images linger in my mind of the petite woman, barely bigger than her guitar, who belted out folk tunes that resonated from Greenwich Village all the way up to Carnegie Hall.
But, singing aside, she wasn’t a well woman. She had her first psychotic break when she was eleven. Moody and tearful one moment and positively beaming the next. Then she began disappearing for days at a stretch, only to reappear battered with what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds and no memory of what happened or where she had been. But her condition isn’t the real reason for the post.
Mickie was big on physical contact. She was always so overly affectionate and was one of those people that simply had to touch you if she was talking to you. I can’t lie, it used to bug me. I loved her like bacon, but I’m an elbow room kind of guy. I brought it up in conversation one day when she was super touchy-feely, and this was her reply:
“It’s skinship. I share it with you, you share it me, shit, we all share it with everybody we come in contact with. It’s an important part of communication. The kind we forget about because we’re all so wrapped up in words, which is stupid because I can touch you right now and convey more meaning than if I spoke to you for four days straight. My hand on yours binds us in a way that nothing else on this earth can.”
At the time we debated this for perhaps an hour or so and I walked away unconvinced that she has any special insight regarding the communication of touch.
Now I just realize what an idiot I was for not spending the time to try to understand what she was trying to tell me. And she was right, of course, because now I’m sitting here wishing I could touch. There are so many things I want to communicate to her.
Sally forth and be skinshippingly writeful.
©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys