When the hand disappeared inside the TactileMemoryDevice that was sitting on the white polished table, a sound coming from the device’s micro ventilation broke the silence in the room.

“It’s the perfect depiction of the world we are living in..”

A flashback broke in while the first impulse from the TMD made the tips of my fingers vibrate.

“It’s a great day for..”

The voice in my head kept talking. The only thing I could do with the obscurers lapping around my head was listening to the silence in the room and wait for the TMD to give me the first Tactile Impulse.

From my apartment I could see everything happening around and beneath me: people walking, cars, the holographic billboards on the streets that were driving my eyes to the end of the city where the boundary wall stood. And from these streets, right under my feet, a 178 floor helix-shaped building grew towards the grey clouds. I was there, sitting in my flat from where I could see everything.

But I had enough of seeing. I had enough of the design, material and colours of the everyday objects we use. Those things somehow reflect what we are now. We have become people obsessed with the always-new, excited by visual experiences and shiny things that overwhelm our souls; so we seek shelter in boring designs and slick surfaces that through touch, sometimes, alleviate our overstimulated eyes.

A buzz on my fingertips. Nor cold or warm, something thin and flat, started materialising between the index and the middle finger; something familiar but I couldn’t remember what. After some seconds the TI intensified and a picture of my hand on the grass slyly took over the black still that my closed eyes were seeing. It was so different from what I remembered, almost like all the graphite, plastic and glass erased the tactile memory of my hand caressing the green stems of a lawn during a sunny day.

When was the last time I was there? Five, eight, ten years? This thought made me think about the other things I’ve forgotten. The cracked bark of the white poplar in the garden, the warm sand of the beach where we used to go.

“RESET”

I said -maybe too loud- removing my hand from it to remove the obscurers off my head.

The clock marking 19:37 was telling me that 32 minutes had passed without me acknowledging that the grass I was touching with my hands was just a tactile illusion provoked by micro vibrations.

  Lights off. All I could see was that outside it was getting dark and the skyglow coming through the windows was highlighting the smooth silhouettes of the furniture in front of me. Those annoyingly comfortable silhouettes. Not a single unpredictable outline, everything was smooth to the eye and to the touch: a lullaby for my senses, inviting them to go to sleep.

“The perfect depiction of our world”.

That brought me back to what I felt the first time the TI reached my fingers; a lost feeling, so forgotten that was more like a new perception than a memory. But after that session, for the next two days I couldn’t stop thinking about it whenever I touched the table, the chair or anything else.

All this time I was feeling nothing. I was so used to touch the same things, over and over again without even noticing, but now I feel the absence of the grass, the things I touched with the TMD. The nothingness has been persistent. I need to go back to that evening, I can’t think about anything else.

   OPTIONS

  SET

1, 2, 6, 20 min.

  SELECT

When I took off the obscurers one and a half hours had passed. “Coming back” is becoming hard. It’s weird how now I feel nothing. The nothingness that has become integral part of my days during the past years without me noticing it.

And with this in mind, every day, I cannot look around without thinking that I want to go back home, switch off the lights and get lost in new tactile impulses until I lose track of time.

I don’t know if it’s the TMD itself or just me, but now, when I am not using it I feel less then nothing. It started the

other day when, holding a cigarette between my lips, I tried to light it. The wind moved the flame closer to the hand that was shielding the cigarette and I could barely feel the heat. At least not on my hand. I turned on the lighter once again; with the flame pointing at my left palm, I started moving the lighter towards the elbow while the warmth became clearer the further the flame was from my hand.

It wasn’t me. It was the TMD. Something is wrong. It’s not anymore just the temperature: If I close my eyes I cannot feel what my hands are holding.

Eyes on the cutting board while I am chopping a carrot. The TMD makes a weird sound, I look at it for a second. I look down once again and I see blood pouring out of my fingertip. I don’t feel anything, nor pain or the cold water running on my hand while I clean the cut.