The Weight of Putting Your Hand on Somebody’s Arm

Posted: November 15, 2018 in epistolary, Fiction, Musing, Musings, opinion, philosophy, relationships

Wise Friend,

All is fine. I probably went through an asthenic moment, but now I’m back on the ground.
Yesterday, while I was still semi-floating, pending your call, I remembered a short story.
A wounded soldier of WWI was laying down in a sanatorium recovering. The sanatorium was in a hilly area. From his room, he could look far away, daily. He could see the courtyard of a woman, whose house was across the hill. Every day, he waited to see her young silhouette, without trying to find an explanation why. The young woman must have noticed, she got an intuition, and one morning, before she went to the animal yard, as she did every day, she opened her window and showed herself naked. That was all she could offer. The solider felt an emotion so intense beyond what the gesture deserved. He took what happened as an endearing present.
I felt like telling you this story and then as you say, “Forget about it.”
Indeed, I felt disconcerted and answered as I have to connect to logical and technical arguments to banish an emotional state which the “meaning” I talked about later. I had to banish that for you your sake as well, (not mine only)  as “this is the last thing you need” (to throw back to you some expression you use).
I wanted to add something to “I need just to say hello…etc”. Did you ever think this might be an extension of a form of communication the basis of which is a physical touch? I refer to effects of discussion that leads to just resting the hand on somebody’s arm. The words don’t matter; they can be sheer banalities or nonsense. The contact via the phone and the sensation of implied simultaneity could be a good substitute.
In the end, this technology seems to be good for something.
I wish you would understand precisely what I want to say (though I’m not sure). Any answer would be OK for me and maybe in equal measure the genuine one, including silence, denying (seriously or only to explain the “need for an excuse” (“comme il faut”, or stating you don’t understand.
I end as I started, with assurances I’m back on the ground. What is left is as you say it, you’ll write when you’ll have something to say, depending on many criteria, you know best known. I’ll respond.

Sensitive Friend,

I find difficult to respond to a message stating what I said as cryptic.
Now I have to respond in a language not used to speak enough. Given my current vocabulary in that language, I would have more success with a puppy: “Sit, lay down, come, go.” Sometimes, I wonder if I still remember the correct meaning of some words and if changed over the years since I wasn’t back in that country for decades.
Add to that the surprise I had a few years ago when I found out I had the wrong understanding of some words while living there. What I was saying differed from what people heard and therefore understood.
I’ll risk it, and hopefully, I get the correct gist of some words I’m about to use in this email. People around here would call what I read and what I hear “take it at face value.”
Your message made me reach the phone, instinctively. Was it because of the desire to be there? Your analogy would imply that.
You’re correct when you mention the weight of putting your hand on somebody’s arm. Maybe it’s more than that. However, it’s difficult to be sure while talking on the phone. I have a strong wish to be in the same room or walk by the sea, in silence. There would be no need to touch the arm. The re-assurance would suffice. Re-assurance for what?
Once, I had two close, supportive friendships in this city, one with a man, the other with a woman. We called each other and went for a walk while uttering not one word. We might have started talking an hour later. It was soul cleansing, and the peaceful sensation of support accompanied both of us.

Wise Friend,

I say many things.
First, with all your wary you declare related to the deciphering my words, I’m sure you understand as very well, always, even if sometimes is convenient to hide behind this argument.
Anyway, this time you’ve deciphered me perfectly.
I assume it’s difficult to express yourself clearly in this language, due to the lack of using it for decades.
You threatened me you would write in English though I noticed you don’t dare (maybe it feels unnatural). Do as it’s easier for you.
Otherwise, I respect your care for the importance of using adequate words. Myself, I don’t throw them around, and I try to use them responsibly.
When it comes to your answer, I remark you chose not to use any of the options I advanced in my prior message relate to a possible response from you, and I now respond to that–uff!! what a complicated statement, though I won’t redo it.
To my delight, you chose, to react differently, thinking about what I said. If I manage to convey the warmth that escorts my thoughts when I write, the rest matters less. I don’t know why you use the qualifications of “cryptic”. Sometimes, analogies enter my mind, as it happens to you as well, and I use them primarily to make the infallible more perceptible.
The mind flies, it’s good; it’s bad. God knows…
I propose to myself always to express only thoughts which are banal and “innocent” about the daily life. However, only words of no value come out–cheap talk of 3 cents.


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