I posted a while ago - last year maybe? - about how little touch was in my life. I think today's events are exemplary of the situation.
Traveling westbound, just below the speed limit (32 in a 35) on my way home from choir rehearsal. Truck ahead of me has been waiting but begins its left in time for me to continue westbound without hitting the brake (slowing by taking the foot of the gas only). A motorcycle darts from the left, in front of the truck
. He doesn't see me. I don't see him. Until his front wheel visually clears the truck about 10 feet ahead and to the left of me.
I slam on the brakes, yank the wheel to the right - aiming for the driveway on the right but just hoping that I miss the tree - and hit the horn. And praying. A lot. (With maybe a What the fuck!! thrown in for good measure.) (Ok, a distinctly explosive What The Fuck?!!.)
It's close. His pedal hits my driver's side front quarter panel. He uses his foot to kick himself away. I come to a stop before hitting the garbage can (or the tree). He continues on down the road until he realizes that I'm totally freaked out and comes back to make sure I'm ok.
He thanks me for reacting so quickly and apologizes for putting me in that position. He assures me he's fine and his bike is fine; he's more worried about me. (I'm good during crises but tend to get shaky after it's all said and done.) He truly does seem worried about me, too. It's a guy probably 55ish, probably was enjoying his evening thoroughly until I almost killed him, much as I was enjoying the evening until that point. I thank him and he heads back to his bike. I wait for him to leave (I don't want any more motorcycle interactions today, thank you very much) and head home still shaken.
When I get home, J is working on the yard and the kids are playing. I tell him what happened and that I'm pretty shaken up. He seems very ho-hum. I show him the scrape/slight dent to illustrate how close a call it was. His reaction: "He scratched your car?!" then he goes off with the rake. I'm shaking - a man was almost killed, for God's sake. No hug. No touch. No kind words. He refuses to let me put the baby to bed, denying me even that much human contact because he thinks my wanting to put the baby to bed has to do with a judgment on him for not doing it earlier. Because, after all, isn't it all about him?
I need touch from the people I care about. It's not an uncommon need. I've heard them referred as stress touches or grounding touches -a hand on the back as one passes around another, a hug, a casual fingertip brush on the arm, an arm around the shoulders, knuckles stroking across a cheek - just little gestures that people who love each other make without even thinking about it. There's the proof that someone loves you.
Or the proof that they don't.
Labels: marriage, touch