“I don’t want to miss any part of you” I said, and so I methodically started touching the space between your fingers, the hollow beneath your knee, the depth of your belly button. I wanted to love and care for the whole of your being, no parts excluded.

We watched an airplane crossing the window, it was sunset.

You have a special way of caressing my left shoulder, of brushing over my ribs, that makes some yet undiscovered organ inside of me vibrate. It’s a low, solemn sound, almost like the beginning of a hymn, and it resonates in my whole body, echoes through soft tissues and bones. I think I may actually start understanding music.

I close my eyes and I let your fingers wander over my shirt.

“I’m scared that certain parts of my body will remain untouched” I tell you, while you gently press the top of your finger against my shoulder blade. “I find it crazy, you know, how years, even a whole life, can pass without some parts of our skins experiencing touch”.

You are quiet. I caress your face, dwelling my touch in the spot where your brows furrow.


“I think we are made to be touched. It’s a form of recognition that the world gives to you, that people give to you. I think it’s actually a form of care. When you care about somebody you don’t care only about their lips or their hands, you care about their whole being. Even about the nail of their little toe and the edge of their ears and the inside of their mouth. I hate thinking that nobody will care about me enough to discover what’s the line of my spine, or how wide the palm of my hand is, or what’s the line where my forehead ends and my hair begins.”

“I once read the story of a man who sent to his lover letters filled with strings, each one the measure of a different part of his body. One string was wide enough to hug her, the other measured the space where she used to lay her head when sleeping together, another one defined the length of his fingers fully stretched to reach her. In this way, although far from each other, they kept their closeness, the intimate knowledge they had of one another.

Similarly, you deserve to find someone that wants to count all your freckles, and that connects your moles into constellations, and that is never tired to discover and rediscover your body every time they get the chance to.”

Your fingers are now stroking my back, a repetitive movement that starts at my neck and ends at a safe distance from the edge of my trousers. I feel that untouched portion of skin burning, longing for a gentle contact against your skin. I’d love to take a string and measure it, and then give you the courage to dare and feel that length of undiscovered land.

You once told me you didn’t realize how starved you were until you touched me. And when we first started holding hands, there you felt how hungry you were for physical contact. We would lay for hours on your couch, just talking and touching each other, gradually learning to come closer, use our open palms instead of only our fingertips to discover new fragments of skin. We started leaning against each other when talking in the kitchen, shoulder on shoulder, finding pleasure in having someone else to hold part of our weight. And we started lingering more in our goodbye hugs, savoring the last crumbles of closeness before separating. We were hungry for the intimacy acquired when skin touches skin. And so we tried new recipes, what happens when I squeeze you more while hugging, what when I touch you more lightly. We craved more.

I then looked it up on the internet and apparently touch-starvation is a real phenomenon. It caught attention after the global pandemic, when social distancing meant that most people didn’t have the opportunity to experience physical touch. But skin hunger exists from before: it’s been studied already in the 1980s, when thousands of Romanian babies experienced several developmental delays after being left for extended periods of time in their cribs, without meaningful physical touch. Moreover, studies show that touch starvation can have negative effects on mental health, including impairment in communication and increasing anxiety.

I think of this while you hold my hand, measuring with your fingers the lines that cross my palm, the distance between my thumb and index finger. “I like touching you” I say, and I pass my hand through your hair, then down your ears, your jawline, until the edge of your turtle neck. I then tuck one finger between the wool and your skin, enjoy the warmth your body radiates. “How come?” you ask. I don’t know what to answer. For somebody that has physical touch as their main love language it’s very hard to motivate it in a rational way. “It’s just nice.”

The sky is getting darker, from over your shoulder I can peek at the moon watching over us.

We press the top of our fingers against each other, gently teasing our strength, putting more or less pressure as our hands move across space. Until both our fingers crumble and intertwine. As we lay on my couch, we hold our hands up, expose them to the light and looks. They project a shadow on the wall, a fine ray passes through them and pierces the image on the wall. We look at this union, the dimension of my fingers belongs to the hollow between yours, our palms hold together the confessions we didn’t say to each other.

A plane drifts through the sky above my window, this time only its red lights are visible.

You tell me you haven’t felt so at peace for such a long time. You close your eyes and I observe your lips folding into a smile as I caress your cheeks. Are you still starving? You seem finally replete.

You hold me tighter, our legs tangled under the blanket, we silently let peace overwhelm us.