Touching Tongues

When we were three, maybe four, five at the oldest, my best friend Annabelle and I decided we should “touch tongues”: her words, her idea. She’d seen her older sister and a boyfriend doing it. They seemed to really enjoy it; she figured we’re friends, we should give it a go. We sat facing each other on her bedroom floor, with the sun streaming in the windows, tongues out, way out, like a doctor told us to say “ahhh”. There were multiple failed attempts. We’d recoil at the last minute, falling backwards, laughing. We agreed it was like two slugs touching; the appeal eluded us, but we persevered, until we managed a split second of one slimy tongue tip touching the other. The door burst open. Her mother was there filling most of the doorway, large, shouting “What are you two doing?” We were initially pretty pleased with ourselves for having completed this dare, this adult challenge. Annabelle explained we were touching tongues, because we’d decided to, and I thought that ought to be a reasonable explanation. But there more questions. Her mother wanted the who, the why, the everything, and her alarm kept building. It was even more mind-bending than the ongoing nose-picking conflict I had with my mother. As far as I was concerned, it was my nose and my finger, so surely the only consent needed in the act of sticking my finger in my nose was my own. She would yell every time she caught me, and I would just skulk off and continue out of view, like a dog chewing a shoe. But our simple act of mimicry was somehow worse; it blew up. Annabelle’s sister was mad. Her parents were mad. My parents were embarrassed and possibly mad. Everyone wanted a piece of us, and everyone needed us to know this tongue touching thing: it wasn’t for us.

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Published by msdeer

I am an interdisciplinary artist, slightly incognito here.

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