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Pleasant Distractions, Part One

Recently my skin has been breaking out. Which makes me anxious. When I am anxious I pick at it. Which makes it worse. It’s a vicious cycle, shameful. It’s a bad habit I am trying desperately to stop. One technique I use is, when I feel the urge to pick at my skin, I instead describe 5 pleasurable sensations, and see if it helps calm me down. So, here is the antidote to my shame:

  1. Putting on my glasses when they are freshly cleaned
  2. The clicky keys of a 90‘s keyboard, specifically the one at the school library search desk
  3. Pouring precisely the right amount of sugar for a recipe in one go
  4. Beating down freshly proofed bread dough
  5. When you walk by me and stop to kiss my shoulder

  1. Slicing into a perfectly ripe avocado half
  2. A finger traced over a scar about which no questions are asked, a kiss on my kneecap
  3. The meaningful silence after two people sigh, their gazes averted
  4. The chime of a good morning text
  5. Picking the melted wax off a candlestick

  1. The second bite of something warm on a cold winter’s evening
  2. Your thumb caressing the side of my face
  3. Stepping onto a freshly paved street, afraid I might leave a footprint
  4. The ink reaching the end of the page
  5. The first district at 4 in the morning, when only the street lamps and the horses are awake

  1. The indelicate, borderline-obscene consumption of an overly-ripe peach, its juice running down my neck
  2. Washing the dirt off my feet under lukewarm water after I have spent the day outside in a park. It reminds me of walking in Paris, how my shoes were always dusty and unfashionable but I was free
  3. When you kissed my forehead in front of everyone while I thought we were still a secret
  4. My mother brushing her fingers through my hair
  5. Picking the label off a sweating bottle of beer

  1. The rumble of a modern train on old tracks
  2. Sitting in the passenger seat, your hand on my knee
  3. Prying a loose brick from an old wall
  4. The heavy chill of my grandmother’s pearl necklace
  5. Taking off my bra the moment I walk into the front door

  1. Ordering a cappuccino after dinner not because I need the caffeine but because I want the evening to continue
  2. Pulling the dried petals off an open rose
  3. Pressing ganache into unfilled macarons
  4. A borrowed sweater in a chilly room
  5. The clear and empty water of the Alte Donau on a rainy Tuesday morning when the dirt has settled and the entire river is mine
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