Tip of My Fingers

Last night I discovered I can taste through my fingers.

I brewed some tea from boldo leaves, green tea, and kombucha. While waiting for it to cool to a drinkable temperature, I passed my left hand through the steam. I like the downy accumulation of dampness, the almost-burn of heat. I relaxed my eyes, letting the focus blur with the steam passing around my fingers.

My finger tips didn’t just feel warm though, some other familiar sensation confused me. Trying to identify the sensation, it reminded me of the flavour I anticipated from drinking the tea. That’s how I realized my finger tips were tasting.

But that’s not possible I thought. I hypothesized different explanations. I hadn’t drunk any of the tea. Nevertheless taste and smell, I always hear, are closely related. I must have smelled the steam. I held my nose with my other hand, thinking this would end the sensation. But I couldn’t deny that the next minute, with my fingers hovering over the cup, I still tasted the tea.

What should I think of this sensation? The tea tasted pleasant both on my fingers and on my tongue. It’s subtle though, this new sense. Perhaps I’ve had this ability for some time without noticing. Perhaps it always blended so well with my sense of smell and tongue taste that I couldn’t distinguish. Or does everyone experience this? If it’s a normal aspect of touch that I’ve lacked for years–how haven’t I noticed?

As I sat back into the sofa to consider this, I put my hand on the cushion. It occured to me that the cloth on the sofa feels bland to the taste. I wished I had a creamy chocolate bar to hold. Will I recognize the salt of my wife when we walk holding hands? I’ll need gloves for the gas pump. Soap is worrying me. And if I suck my thumb, will I taste taste?

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