Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

In Anticipation of…Touch

“What would I not have given to one of them. Though I never could have been so rude, no, no! I wouldn’t for the wealth of all the world have crushed that braided hair, and torn it down; and for the precious little shoe, I wouldn’t have plucked it off, God bless my soul! to save my life. As to measuring her waist in sport, as they did, bold young brood, I couldn’t have done it; I should have expected my arm to have grown round it for a punishment, and never come straight again. And yet I should have dearly liked, I own, to have touched her lips; to have questioned her, that she might have opened them; to have looked upon the lashes of her downcast eyes, and never raised a blush; to have let loose waves of hair, an inch of which would be a keepsake beyond price: in short, I should have liked, I do confess, to have had the lightest licence of a child, and yet to have been man enough to know its value.” – Dickens

Dear Darling,

I’m a touch-aphobic.

At least I was. And maybe “phobia” is the wrong word to use. I’m just not (wasn’t) very touchy-feely.

It’s not like I didn’t get hugs from my parents growing up or anything…in fact, there’s nothing I appreciate more than a touch on the arm. I’m even becoming quite a hugger, which is new. But I’m sensitive to touch. I usually flinch if someone touches my arm during conversation, or taps me on the back to get my attention. I’m just on high alert I guess.

You’d laugh if I told you the jobs I’ve had where touching is a mandatory and entirely frequent activity I perform. God has a sense of humor, and in his mercy He seems to have given me an extraordinary ability to muscle past my reservations and hesitations and just get a job done. I’m grateful to Him for that.

I don’t know why this sensitivity is, especially evaluating it against society’s standards. One of those things that makes me either weird or normal, depending on which population you compare me to. But it also means I’m going to appreciate those little gestures and caresses that much more together.

I see them out there every day. Lovers, giving each other little touches in public. A hand on the back, an arm around the shoulder, a sweet and absent-minded caress across the arm. (I’m quite the people-watcher you know.) How lightly they take for granted those parting kisses!

It’s said that to be truly happy, Man must live wholly in the present, holding neither regrets of the past nor fears of the future. None of us achieves that kind of happiness completely, but I wonder if these couples live even partially in the moment, wonder if they appreciate the value of their touch.

One of the most poignant and wonderful books I’ve ever read was Les Miserables. It is the typical classic — a book everyone wants to have read, but no one wants to read. It is long and at times dull, but immensely rewarding, and contains a wonderful and grossly overlooked love story between Marius and Cosette. These two finally find each other, and plight their troth in the garden.

Throughout the whole of the month of May of that year 1832, there were there, in every night, in that poor, neglected garden, beneath that thicket which grew thicker and more fragrant day by day, two beings composed of all chastity, all innocence, overflowing with all the felicity of heaven, nearer to the archangels than to mankind, pure, honest, intoxicated, radiant, who shone for each other amid the shadows. It seemed to Cosette that Marius had a crown, and to Marius that Cosette had a nimbus. They touched each other, they gazed at each other, they clasped each other’s hands, they pressed close to each other; but there was a distance which they did not pass. Not that they respected it; they did not know of its existence. Marius was conscious of a barrier, Cosette’s innocence; and Cosette of a support, Marius’ loyalty. The first kiss had also been the last. Marius, since that time, had not gone further than to touch Cosette’s hand, or her kerchief, or a lock of her hair, with his lips. For him, Cosette was a perfume and not a woman. He inhaled her. She refused nothing, and he asked nothing. Cosette was happy, and Marius was satisfied. They lived in this ecstatic state which can be described as the dazzling of one soul by another soul. It was the ineffable first embrace of two maiden souls in the ideal. Two swans meeting on the Jungfrau.

At that hour of love, an hour when voluptuousness is absolutely mute, beneath the omnipotence of ecstasy, Marius, the pure and seraphic Marius, would rather have gone to a woman of the town than have raised Cosette’s robe to the height of her ankle. Once, in the moonlight, Cosette stooped to pick up something on the ground, her bodice fell apart and permitted a glimpse of the beginning of her throat. Marius turned away his eyes.

What took place between these two beings? Nothing. They adored each other. 

This chaste, almost shy love was not devoid of gallantry, by any means. To pay compliments to the woman whom a man loves is the first method of bestowing caresses, and he is half audacious who tries it. A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil. Voluptuousness mingles there with its sweet tiny point, while it hides itself. The heart draws back before voluptuousness only to love the more.” – Hugo


The reputation of a man is to be “all arms” and seek his gratification from a woman’s body, with or without her consent. Yet, how could I disrespect you, or any woman? It seems often that I respect a woman more than she respects herself.

In truth, I began by questioning myself as to whether or not it would be a problem to know you have kissed another man before. I hope you find that as ironic as I do. I suppose part of those sentiments is just pure jealousy. I have few friends that truly, genuinely care like that, let alone have the opportunities to express affection physically.

Anyway Darling, if I abstain from a great deal of physical contact in the beginning, you must not take this as a sign of disapproval or dislike. Quite the opposite. You are being elevated to a position of a sort-of reverence. Believe me, when the time comes, there will be no hesitations or reservations.

I look forward to every single one of them, the times when I can show you I care with a simple touch. Cupping your face in my hands. Sweeping your hair out of your eyes, or pulling a renegade eyelash away. Tracing the curve of your chin, rubbing the back of your neck, and so many more that prudence and discretion forbid.

I dare not even imagine the chills and joys of you returning those favors.

Oh, I’ll love every minute of it Darling, because I know you will.

Heaven forbid I ever take it for granted.

April 11, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation, Purity | 1 Comment