Skin to skin.Posted: November 28, 2014
Photo: on the Aurora 2, looking ahead to Coron, Philippines. Photo credit: Vicki Pettifer.
I wanted to lie down, belly to plank, chin on my folded hands, like they were; so I did. I knew it was not an uncomplicated gesture in the matrix of class and race and gender that we’re all in. I just wanted to look ahead with them, skin to skin, as if they were my brothers, or lovers, or closer. My fellow travelers regarded me with something like pity.
In Palawan, you can get massages on the beach. Each bed is curtained with lace and bright faux satin. I got one every night. I was never not amazed at how grateful I was for a woman’s hands. As soon as she put them on my body it felt like the universe was flooding with warm milk.
I have so many friends who have young children, and whose mothers are still alive, walking and talking. I try to understand what their lives are like. I wonder whether, my apparent happiness aside, they secretly pity me, anchorless in the past and future, hungry and thirsty, wandering the world and lying down with strange men on boats.
Sometimes I feel sorry for myself, that my mother is not alive.
And sometimes I feel sorry for people whose mothers are alive. Because they still think that their mother is just a person. And they may never learn otherwise.