The hard bed beneath me. The warmth of my clothes. The soft heaviness of the blanket. The sharp pain stretching from my hairline to my jaw.
This is all I am aware of.
I sleep. The next time I wake, my fingers flutter over the bandages covering my eyes. I feel the material whisper against my skin but cannot hear it.
I tap out the seconds against the blanket. After one hundred and eighty I lose interest. Time doesn’t matter when you’re not living.
Hours – days? – later, he comes.
It’s the first time I recognise the hands touching me. His hands are gentle, warm, but most of all, loving. He helps me sit up with none of that impersonal, brisk professionalism the other hands have had.
I reach out.
He captures my hand with his fingers, rests it against his soft, freshly shaven cheek. His smile curves against my palm.
For me? I want to ask, then I want to laugh because it’s a waste, I can’t see, and I’ll never again be able to.
Water fills my eyes. Wetness trickles down my cheeks, into my nose. A drop curves into the corner of my mouth. It tastes of nothing.
His knuckles smear away the tears. His warm breaths tickle my skin. His lips are dry against mine.
Our lips lock together like puzzle pieces that don’t quite fit. The feel is right but without his taste I could be kissing a stranger.
He kisses my cheek, murmurs words against my skin that make my follicles vibrate.
The sound isn’t there but the meaning remains. I love you.
I take his hand and place it against my chest.
I’m still here, I want to say.
I can only let my heart do the speaking.
* * *
To celebrate National Short Story Month, I’m running the Senseless Challenge throughout May. Each Friday is dedicated to a different sense – the challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction inspired by that sense. The final week is dedicated to touch.