I am re-learning the value of human touch through Belle. I lived alone for over twelve years before her birth. I needed those twelve years to myself after the smothering relationship I'd had with my maternal grandmother. My grandmother, a hoarder, had sought refuge in my room after filling her own room with mementos to the ceiling of the apartment we shared in Los Angeles. We shared a bed for many years, which made adolescent development very difficult. My grandmother monitored everything I said and did. I had absolutely no personal freedom, but I had every useless material good advertised on TV.
Those things were packed into boxes and spread throughout the duplex I'd inherited from my paternal grandmother once we relocated. I was so thrilled to be turning twenty-one and finally in my own room again. I spent six happy months in that room before my grandmother said she'd seen or heard something (A spirit, perhaps?) that scared her to be alone in her room. I moved back into her room for moral support just for a season until an argument drove me back into my room.
My grandmother and I stopped the affectionate touching that transpires in most families along the way. My grandmother's health severely declined about a year after I graduated university. Instead of giving her the healing human touch I am sure she needed, I retreated into (1) the fear that she would die soon and (2) the resentment that my own twentysomething life would be forever sidelined by her failing health. My grandmother's own fears about her pending demise eventually manifested as harsh verbal abuse and other criticisms that hurt us both. We didn't know how to be affectionate at the end.
I lived in what one of my astrology books calls "splendid isolation" after my grandmother died. I attracted the right short term players for long term lessons. I never found lasting romantic love or stability. It took me many years to re-establish relationships with my extended network of aunts, uncles and cousins. It eventually took relocating to Alameda, meeting a variety of people and having Belle to finally get that human touch I'd been missing. Belle and I are now growing together, each providing what the other needs to thrive.