I tried a writing prompt tonight that said to write 500 words of story in the imperative, only.* I came up with this, and then of course I had to go try it with Erik. I think it would be better, actually, with someone who isn’t my partner; the intimacy then would be more noticeable, more uncomfortable, and possibly more interesting.
Look up. Look at me. Gaze into my eyes. See me, really see me. Don’t say a word. Just look. Smile, or don’t smile, but don’t make silly faces. Let your eyes do the talking, if you want to talk. Watch me do the same with you. Study the emotions that pass across my features and out to you, via my eyes. Stay with me. Don’t look away. Feel the intimacy, even the unwanted intimacy. Look at me.
Now hold up your hand: left, right, doesn’t matter which. Hold it out and wait. Hold it steady and watch as I raise mine to meet it. Grasp my hand when it meets yours. Hold. Feel the warmth, the very thin film of perspiration or maybe hand lotion, perhaps the slight tremble as our skins make contact. Don’t take your eyes away from mine. Touch me now in two places: the gaze, the lifted hand. Don’t stroke with your hand, though you may lower it if your arm gets tired. Just grasp, hold, feel.
Now the other hand. Raise it. Wait. Feel the touch of mine. Hold it. Intertwine fingers, perhaps, this time. If the other one is lowered, lower this one too. Don’t take your eyes from mine. Feel me now in three places: the gaze, the linked hands. Feel the warmth spread to the rest of you from these three connections.
Wiggle your toes now. Keep your gaze on mine, but feel your feet. Move one forward: left, right, doesn’t matter which. Inch it toward mine until it meets, then stop. Wait. Feel the difference in your stance. Feel my toes come to cover yours. Keep looking into my eyes.
Don’t move your other foot. Connect with me now in these four places: gaze, left hand, right hand, one foot. Now feel my other foot move forward to nudge yours. Raise yours; cover mine. Stay with me. Feel your consciousness of our five points of touch. Stay with me.
Keep looking into my eyes as I look into yours. Prepare for still further closeness. When you see in my eyes that I am about to move, do the same: each of us leaning forward, just a little, so our foreheads touch. Don’t give in to the impulse to close your eyes. Keep them open. Hold.
Realize we are now connected in six places; seven, they say, is the magic number. Make your choice: do we touch our noses, or our lips, or not? Choose, and then, before you act, tell me with your eyes what you mean to do. Watch how I respond. Decide again if this is the choice you wish to make. Then act. Do not close your eyes. Maintain all points of contact. Stay with me.
Now: break away, however you wish, one connection at a time or all at once. Stay near me, or retreat, as you must. Feel the loss of me, or your liberation. Feel the soleness of your body, of your hands, feet, your independence, your loneness, your release.
Again, make a choice: walk away, or repeat?
*From Brian Kitely’s The 3 AM Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction. I found it in the apartment and it’s great.