I know logically that skin is only skin deep, but sometimes logic feels out of place.

I was walking through Chinatown this morning around 10.30am. It was quiet, with the transient student population likely bedridden nursing off hangovers. As I strolled, I saw a young Asian family approaching. The mother was walking the kid, a small boy no older than three years gripping his Goofy soft toy tightly. Grandparents trailing behind, looking on fondly. The mum counted down “one, two, three, JUMP” and they’d take a big leap. The kid collapsed into peals of laughter. He dropped his Goofy, stooped down to pick it up and the process begun again. As I approached, I saw his dad perched behind a lamp post. The kid was so absorbed in the activity he couldn’t comprehend anything beyond it. The mother started again with a “one, two, three, JUMP” and he took a big bounce. As he did, the dad leapt out from behind the post with a loud “RAAAAAH”. It was sensory overload for the kid, whose giggles gave way to guffaws as his smile split his face asunder. The dad crouched down and absorbed the child in a hug, lifting him to the mother for a kiss on the cheek. The grandparents looked on approvingly and chuckled quietly to themselves. It was like watching a snapshot evolve beyond a moment.

The scene resonated with me so heavily. I was immediately thrown back to earlier years. One of my favourite memories as a kid was shower time with my parents. My mum or dad would pick me up, the shower head in close proximity. They’d clutch me close, my tiny chest pressed to theirs. The water would pool like a reservoir between us. They’d rotate back and forth as our skin, now slick with water, would slide frictionless. Laughter uninhibited, it’s some of the purest joy I can recall in my life. “Skin to Skin” they called it. I fondly recall it as one of the near infinite times I felt so treasured as a child.

I boarded the streetcar with Jamie xx’s In Colour channelled through my ears. I’ve rotated the album so many times this year, but today it was hitting the perfect frequency. I found a seat to myself and looked out the window. The sky was vivid, a crisp baby blue, a comforting departure from frosty past winters. The vibrations of “Loud Places” travelled past my ear drums and throughout my body. I felt the dynamics, the gated frequencies expanding and unravelling. I thought of the rest of my day, potential unlimited. I contemplated the state of my life right now, the staggering autonomy I possess. Opportunity is everywhere, the freedom I have to follow my bliss. Unbeholden to the shackles of circumstance, I have support without the trappings of responsibility. I have the ability to shape not only today, but every day as I see fit.

As I traced the scant few clouds in the sky I thought of people close to me, how they came into my life. I thought of relationships both platonic and romantic and smiled. I felt warm inside and pointedly unzipped my jacket a little. It once again cast me back to that water cascading across my tiny chest, echoes of a physical loving embrace still felt in a metaphorical sense. A wave of something I can only translate as unmitigated pleasure swept from my core to every inch of my skin. Alone but not lonely, I felt utterly loved.

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