Who would have thought a few weeks ago that we would be forbidden not only to go out into the street but to have any physical contact with another human being? It’s ironic to realize that, without a doubt, the fact that this confinement has caught up with you is tantamount to having an emotional balcony that many will envy more than the neighbor’s penthouse terrace.
That is why as the days go by what worries and scares me most about this so-called “new normality” that we are being told about at every moment is physical distancing, because let’s not fool ourselves, that is what it is and not the badly called “social distancing”. Because socially you still keep in touch thanks to new technologies, but there is no screen, no application that can simulate the touch of other lips in yours or the heat of proximity.
You can glimpse the street in those brief moments when you go out to buy, or even put out the garbage, you can try to walk your dog three times a day recreating your steps; but the lack of company, the lack of skin has no substitute. Loneliness, when it is imposed, ends up getting into your bones and it becomes difficult to keep hope alive if you don’t feel your skin crawling, no one hugs you by wrapping their arms around your back or no one snuggles up to you while you sleep.
I guess that’s why this phrase in the title, which initially came to me as a joke, takes on a dimension of reality when I realize that it will be months before we feel completely safe approaching someone. Months of maintaining physical but also emotional distance. Months in which we will have to put ourselves to the test and face the test of extreme confidence that will involve joining your hands with those of another person, yes, just that; so why even talk about what it will involve kissing or having sex with someone.
This pandemic has taken away many things that will not be able to be recovered and that terrifies me. I just hope that touch isn’t one of them. Because if they ask me I’ll say yes, I want you on the street; yes, I want you healthy; but also and without any doubt, I want you around.
Ruth del Pozo