I Can’t Touch Them


I Can’t Touch Them

By Adam Dixon


Mummy and daddy won’t talk to me anymore. That makes me sad. Ever since the nice men and ladies in the white coats stopped giving me my medicine they haven’t said a word to me. I don’t know why. I thought mummy would be happy now. It used to make her so sad to watch me take my medicine, but she would pretend that it didn’t. I thought she would smile again now that I don’t need it. I don’t hurt anymore and I used to hurt all the time, especially at night. So why are mummy and daddy still so sad?

There are lots of things that I don’t need anymore. I don’t need to use the toilet at all, which is really good! It was so annoying having to ask one of the nice ladies to help me when I needed to poop, so I don’t miss that much. I miss eating, but not with the tubes in my nose. They made my throat itchy and I couldn’t scratch them. I miss the food I used to eat before I stayed in the big white building, like chocolate and crisps and apple pies and custard…and beans on toast and cereal and runny eggs with lots of chips and ketchup! Or the big cake with the four candles I got for my birthday! I really miss mummy’s orange juice too, but she doesn’t make that anymore.

I’ve tried talking to mummy and daddy, but they won’t speak to me. I’ve tried yelling at them, and mummy always hated that. I even tried yelling one of the big-boy words that daddy uses when he hurts himself. Mummy used to shout at him for saying them in front of me, and I used to laugh at daddy’s face. It didn’t work, though. I cried and cried and cried but they carried on sitting in the house, staring at the walls and holding hands.

I’ve tried touching them, too. My hands slip through them like when I put my hand through the water from a tap; it was really scary at first. I tried to hug mummy when I woke up in the house after the pain had stopped, but I just ran through her. She felt warm and I could smell her perfume. I tried to pull daddy’s beard the way I used to, but my hands went through his head. I can’t touch anything in the house either. I’ve tried to knock things off the shelves when I’ve gotten angry at mummy and daddy for not talking to me, but the same thing happens. Mummy has tidied my bedroom but I can’t touch my dinosaur toys or my chewy blanket. I don’t understand why.

Mummy and daddy look tired. They haven’t slept properly in days because they keep waking up during the night crying. That makes me sad, too. I don’t need to sleep anymore, so I stand in their room and watch them. Daddy called out my name one night and cried for so long. It hurts to see daddy cry. I tried to answer him but he didn’t hear me. Grandma and grandad came around before, but they didn’t speak to me either. They just sat with mummy and daddy and they all hugged and cried together. Everyone is crying all the time. I don’t like that they are upset.

The only one who even looks at me is Buster. He was scared at first, but now he wags his tail when he sees me. That makes me smile. I can’t touch him, but he walks over to me and sits when I ask him. He’s a good boy. He looks right at me with his big brown eyes and it makes me feel a little bit better. Mummy and daddy sometimes ask him what he is staring at, and he cries when they take him for walks. I think he knows that I don’t like to be in the house by myself. I tried to follow them, but I can’t get out. I think I’m stuck here.

I really hope mummy and daddy will speak to me again. I must have done something wrong for them to be so angry with me. Whatever I did it’s made them so sad, and I’m really sorry. I just wish they’d talk to me, and everything will be alright. I love my mummy and daddy so much, I don’t want them to be sad. It’s so lonely when they won’t speak! How long will I have to wait until they love me again?

23 thoughts on “I Can’t Touch Them

    • Hiya, Kate ☺ Well, that’s a wonderfully affirming thing to hear! Thank you for saying so!
      Also, I deliberately kept the gender of the child ambiguous, so it’s interesting to hear that you’ve imagined a little girl. I suspect other readers will have differing interpretations.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Isn’t that weird? I re-read your story after reading your comments – and you don’t say boy or girl! I just read it as a ‘girl’. Should I get all ‘psychological’ and say it’s because I’m female and as I empathised with the character I assumed they were female too? Ha! You make me think AJ.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Well, I imagined a little boy even though I was well aware while reading that you didn’t specify…what does that say about me I wonder? 😉
    Very poignant, I don’t mind admitting it brought a lump to my throat…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I imagined the character as a little girl! How interesting to read these comments. The story is so, so sad and you tell it beautifully. Only the hardest heart could fail to be moved by it. Another super story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a beautiful story, utterly heart-wrenching, heartfelt. That poor confused child, the loneliness is total and to top it the guilt of having done something wrong! It can’t finish here..! Great story, capturing the voice of the child perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Annika 😊
      It did twist my conscience to leave the child in confusion and despair, but it seems to have had the desired effect! I spent a long time on the voice of the narrative so I’m thrilled to hear you say that! ☺ Thank you for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good writing Adam.
    Although I realised it was a ghost narrating, it didn’t lessen the impact of the piece and there were some really nice touches. You captured that distant closeness really well the way you described the parents. I how the dog could sense the ghost too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A beautiful story, Adam. I instinctively thought this was a boy. Many of us know a loved one stays around for a while before moving on to whatever comes next. I’m sure it’s the same for this little lad, too. He’ll stop blaming himself for his parents tears and will once again know happiness and a joy at being free from pain. He’ll also find a way of sending them supportive messages at appropriate times just as my sister does to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Viki. I’m very happy to hear that you could connect to this story. I am intrigued by the idea of ghosts and spirits and thought I’d explore it a little bit. I’m sorry to hear about your sister, but I’m glad you can find some comfort in her passing.


  6. I’ve just noted you posted this on January 29th. The second anniversary of my sister’s totally unexpected passing – just proves what I’ve just said!

    Liked by 1 person

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