I tell strangers that I have chromesthesia, a type of synaesthesia. I say that the rounded shapes of their crimson vowels bleed into violet ‘n’ into emerald ‘g’. Or that ‘viola’ tastes like tart cherries. In truth, words don’t bloom into sweet or sour flavors on my tongue.
I tell the handsome waiter with the gingery hair, “The hushed thump of silverware being placed on a cloth napkin makes my wrist tingle.” He cocks his head, considers me for a moment, and then takes my order. Auditory-tactile. This is the hardest for me to do well, because I forget to mimic the physical sensation with believable repetition.
I tell the irritated girl at the post office, “Rising notes in a Mozart piece are like blue, fading from navy to periwinkle.” She rolls her eyes and takes my stack of outgoing letters.
Before them and many others: Jason. On the train, I told him the rain on the windows was an explosion of amber and gold and orange, that the sounds looked like an autumn-burning maple. He came home with me, removed my suit jacket, my tie.
He was worth the lie.
There are other types of synaesthesia, types that are wed to numbers, as I am, but the wikipedia article lacks detail and I am incapable of pretending that numbers are anything other than dependable. They are a fixed navigational star that I follow from sum to sum in tax forms and worksheets.
There is even a type where you can feel the same sensations as another person. Mirror-touch. I like the name. But, there is no amount of pretending that will transfer the pressure of Jason’s kiss from his lover’s lips to mine, no matter how many Saturdays I spend at the train station watching them greet each other.