It was just a touch. Technically, a rub...against the back of my bicep with the flat part of her index finger between the first and second joint. Three strokes, up, and down. It sent a pulse throughout my body. And for five seconds, wiped away all my pain.
For 20 hours, 14 on two planes, I sweated, shivered, and suffered through a fever hovering in the low hundreds. Some might call it a 24 hour bug, I affectionately refer to it as day six of the seven day Full Moon Party hangover. Folded sideways across three seats on the 11 hour leg to Moscow, my body made up for 3 weeks of partying with no hangovers. Laying next to the bathroom I was bombarded with a steady crash of toilet flushes, floral deodorizing spray, the click-lock-slam of the door....and one savage Russian with a pocket full of zero fucks who decided he couldn't wait to smoke a cigarette. Savage.
Back to the rub.
I'm miserable, but just have 30 minutes left before I board a plane to Berlin. I've got two goals; don't fall sleep, and get on that goddamn plane....caaauuuse something tells me I don't wanna be stuck in Russia. By this point, I've already considered going to the hospital in the airport; I shit you not...I wrote a kind-of goodbye note to my brother in my phone just in case I had some sort of brain eating amoeba...guys, I was on the brink. And then she happened.
Really it could have been anybody, like that funny looking Asian guy who kept staring at me (well, maybe not him)...but when you're on your deathbed cum three airline seats cum torture rack, terribly ill...and alone...it was all about that brief, comforting stroke. We've all been there, right? Whether away at college, maybe vacation...sick and alone...you just want your Dad, your girlfriend's soft stroke of your hair, some chicken noodle soup. As I slouched over my backpack, face buried in my hand, for five seconds she filled that void. It was an honest action, she was merely getting my attention to let me know my glasses had fallen from my pack. I mumbled back, "Ah, thank you", barely making eye contact. But then, I let that touch sink in, and the affection in it dissolved my pain, my fear, my aloneness.
So now, here I am, laying in a hostel dorm bed in Berlin. Contemplating the importance of human connection, and touch. What a time to be alive.