Proxemics is the study of proximity and haptics is the study of touch. These are nonverbal languages that tend the garden of our souls. I learned all these in English class and I also learned when out intimate s p a c e s are invaded, we feel threatened except when it’s by people we care about or people we love, see: beloved. Some of the extraordinary fears of contamination OCD is close proximities and worse even, touching. The only cure for fear when it’s occupied your head is avoidance and learning how to be apologetic. ‘Sorry, I can’t hug you.’ ‘Sorry, no touching please.’ ‘Sorry, please step back a little I think I’m about to cry.’ And funniest of all while getting my hair done, ‘Sorry but are you done yet?’ Some would cough and I’m immediately out of the room, or as far away as I could manage. Someone would sniffle within earshot and my sanitizers and disinfectants—yes, plural-- would be out. Someone would seat beside me on a bench and I would get out of the situation immediately. I went for years without touching someone unless I really, really, really needed to, like the eye doctor. But I got better, thank goodness. And when I got better, I let someone hug me for the first time and I couldn’t explain to her the tears that were involuntarily streaming out my **** eyes. Because how do you explain the feeling of rediscovering of having a living, breathing body against yours? Heart against heart, beating in harmony. After that, I got even better—thank you, universe. Then, I could do better. I could lie beside friends on a picnic blanket on park grass, warm bodies full from a day of frolicking; I could let someone sit beside me; I could stay still when someone unconsciously touches my arm or my shoulder; I could let someone hold my hand. How do you articulate the surge of joy and affection that comes with lying side by side with another warm body, or the harmonies of YES! of the mind and heart when holding another’s hand while walking down the streets of a familiar city? A body’s closeness to my own used to drive me to tears and I thought that one touch could end it all. But there is a world to be known between the distance of a body and my own, in the spaces between my fingers occupied by another like puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together. Or in the hug one tiny person saying, ‘Tita, let’s go to sleep.’ Fear consumes, but we can rise from ashes.