Lost in Translation by Jeni Fraser

Physical contact has always been a strange concept to me. The smallest gestures like hands brushing can mean so much coming from the right person. A hug or a kiss from the wrong person can leave you numb. Contact can be something people shy away from or it can be something people crave. It can become an addiction.

I must be a robot. A sociopath. I never crave that contact that other people seem to desperately need. My friend once said I look like a cuddler and I scoffed. It’s not something necessary for me to exist. I am content.

But then I saw your face and something weird happened. I can’t recall the first time; it feels like it’s been burned into my mind for an eternity. I don’t know of a time that I didn’t have the freckles on your face mapped out like a constellation. Maybe it’s because your beauty transcends anything I could have ever dreamed into existence. You have this ethereal quality about you; like an angel. How does everyone not come to a standstill just to see you smile? I could lose hours just staring at you alone. To me, you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on.

And I start to wonder to myself… is this what everyone talks about? I’m not naïve enough to convince myself this is anything more than a feeling but suddenly the thought of your hand brushing against mine, however momentarily, makes my heart want to do somersaults. I imagine what it would feel like to be hugged by you. To have traces of your scent on me.

You text me with an ‘x’ at the end. A fleeting gesture - you hit send oh so casually - but my heart races all night as my mind tries to decipher what it means.

My mind clears when I log into reality. It’s them you stand beside in pictures. It’s them you have your arm around for the world to see. It’s their hand you hold and their body you hug. So I settle for something less, but something nonetheless - in this social media paradise, where I’m allowed to marvel at your face for hours, I can pretend that I mean something to you; more than just a like or a comment.

But if anyone ever asks, please know that this is all nonsense. I don’t like you. I only know your name through a friend of a friend. I don’t know your favourite music. Or your sister’s name. I never overheard what makes your heart roar with passion. I don’t know what keeps you awake at night or what makes you cry in the shower.

And I don’t care. Because I don’t need the contact; I’m happier alone. If I do find myself typing your name into my phone in the middle of the night, to see what you’ve been up to lately, please don’t think it means anything. I’m just curious. Not that you’ll read this. We’re not in contact.


Jeni Fraser has always liked story-telling and enjoys mysteries. She has a degree in journalism and tweets @jeni_fraser.

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