To be without the taste of your lips, the feel of your touch, the sound of your voice ...
|Prompt: Imagine being forced to choose . . .
Which Sense Would I Give Up?
To be without our senses would be supreme deprivation. We humans live to taste and feel, to smell, and see the sights. A world without sound would take away our joy in music and the speech of our baby's first words.
Yet, such is the task I have set for myself. If I had to give up a sense, which one would I delete?
To lose my taste buds would forever take away the flavor of summer strawberries, lusciously red and juicy, and so sweet I sometimes wonder how such a delicious delicacy can grow from just soil, water, and sunshine. Yet, to never savor chocolate might be a productive advancement in my battle against fat cells. Would I be so eager to cram that Hershey's kiss into my watering mouth if it tasted only of lard?
Medicine would go down easier, too. Spinach would taste the same as doughnuts, and orange juice would be just as flavorless as water. Yet, when something had stayed a bit too long in my refrigerator, and was slightly off -- a warning sign for skillful tasters -- I would not realize it. I would clean the plate and later wish I hadn't.
Would ice cubes melting down my throat no longer pleasure me on hot summer days? Would I never long for another ice cream cone, dripping down on my face and hands -- ice cream that has the taste of heaven and the reminder of those long ago childhood days? If everything I ate had the flavor of baby food, would I still enjoy long Thanksgiving dinners with my family? There would never be another chocolate Easter egg with yellow yolk that drooled down the sides, tasting of happiness and sweet smiles.
Would I care if my teeth were clean? Would kisses taste less spectacular?
I think that is too much to give up. Perhaps I should choose, instead, to lose my hearing. But a soundless world would be full of peril. Sirens would not alert me, I would not hear the ringing of my phone, and I would not know when the laundry had completed its cycle. The dog would bark, or the doorbell ring, and I would never hear it.
But worst of all -- I wouldn't be aware of your moan when you tried to hide your pain, and you needed a backrub. I'd never hear your words when you told me how much I meant to you. Would your kisses be as wonderful without that smooching sound?
I don't need to smell roses. They have thorns anyway. And I could give up the morning fragrance of coffee as I poured it into my mug. What do I need my nose for when it's always running and sneezing? And to turn it off would remove all the smells I do not like: the backup in the bathtub last week, the fertilizer you put out on the lawn, and dirty diapers!
But, the fragrance of rain when the damp wakens up the morning, and when the grass smells like summer and spurts upward, waving its miniature little blades like toddlers showing off! I would miss those delights. The flowers breathe their delicate scent more with a drizzle of rain, and afterward the air smells of freshness and promises, and it always brings my smiles.
And even worse, I would miss the smell of your aftershave. It lingers on each shirt you wear. I never told you how I breathe it in, savoring that smell and thinking how lucky I am to share my life with you.
I suppose I could give up my sight. Already I can close my eyes and remember the vision of a blue jay playing in the sprinkler. The blue of his wings will always be inside me, wouldn't it? I have taken a million pictures with my mind of the mountains with snow and the trees all plumped by whiteness and decorated in pointy, scratchy pinecones. I can see their fir needles shaded darkly by that peculiar bluish forest-green.
I have a clear picture of the ocean resting in my brain. Its azure blue differs from the blue jay's color. The ocean waves are a restless blue, tossing and turning, turquoise and teal, and sapphire when the sun plays upon the surface. I can see the sea gulls plunging into the surf and the seal we saw once, bobbing in the waves and staring right at us.
I have recordings of all that, but I cannot bear to think of little Angie growing up without being able to see her. Will her hair turn golden like the curls in yours? Or grandma's reddish locks, or dark with streaks of black like my brother's? How could I bear not to see her chubby little legs kicking the air each time I change her?
And, you, my love, how could I choose not to watch your eyes crinkle when you laugh? Oh, I know it's silly, but I adore the way your nose wrinkles up as you correct your students' work. I am sure I couldn't bear never to gaze at you again, filling my memories for the rest of always.
My choices then are down to one. Why must I choose? Why can I not delight in my world of senses and savor them all? But I have promised; I must go on.
To deprive myself of touch, what would that be like? There would be no hot or cold. I would not know how to clothe myself or dress Angie for the day. I might burn my finger on a pan or draw the bath too cold. I would find no pleasure in stroking our cat. Her warm fur would not feel soft. Texture would have no meaning.
And, I suppose that...
Wait, to be without touch means I would not feel your hand on mine. The touch of your lips, the warmth of your body -- I would not know any of those. Your fingers would not open me to the secret chamber of delight. Oh, my love, I cannot even imagine a world without that. I would wither like a thirsting flower.
So, it must be odors I give up, although that would pain me greatly, but the smells of life are the least of the senses I cherish, and I absolutely couldn't bear to part with any other.
Now, thank goodness, my task is done. I have toured sensory deprivation. It is not a place I would journey willingly, but I think I shall appreciate each one of my senses more -- because in a way, I have now traveled down that road.