A Minute to Myself (19)
It's Finally Over: Niceties

Get Your Words Off Me: Excerpt Seven

Need for a Hug

I need a hug. I need to be encased and enclosed within masculine compassion. It’s not asking for much, but it is certainly more than I have gotten in years, and more than I expect to get for years to come. A simple warm embrace that a man and a woman exchange, and share. It’s not an invitation to sex, but it does not deny passion. It’s not cordial, there is, after all, some chemistry required to make it a warm embrace and not simply an air-kiss hug.

My younger daughter does the hug-thing, and my parents do it when they come to visit and when they leave; it’s all I get, but it’s not what I need. My daughters, well, that is me transferring my love and hopes and encouragement onto them. My parents, when they come to visit they give a “you look better or worse (depending on the trip) than we expected” hug and then when they go it’s a “be strong and let us out of here, you and all your neediness” hug. Neither are what a woman, this woman, needs.

There’s the friend hug, too. That can be wonderful, but it’s more of a mutual commiseration, it does not answer any physical needs other than to say you are a good friend and when I see you I need to do more than just say hi and get to talking.

9/11 was another, your-marriage-is-over day. I needed an existential hug, one that affirmed and reaffirmed my belief in the world and the still existent good. But my husband was distant. He did not come over to me within all of my weepiness and join me. And I, seeing that distraction, did not call him over or go over to him. Something like that should have been felt, should have been automatic. He focused on the terrorists and their viciousness, the need for revenge; whereas I focused on the victims and their tragedies. His focus kept a rage and anger at the boiling-point, which did not have room for trembling with the victim. My focus required a hug to coalesce all of the sorrow and emptiness and compassion I had in me, and which had no outlet.

My parents, knowing of my need for that human contact came to visit a few days later. My embrace with each of them was warm and supportive. But, still, it was a parent and a child. I am a grown woman, and I need something else. But why? What does a hug represent for me? Why has it become something so vital that I mull over its loss, and analyze those I receive or participate in? A hug is, after all, simply a momentary embrace. It is a letting down of one’s guard; a non-verbal interaction in a words-filled life; a purely physical moment in a too cerebral world. Perhaps, for me, someone who does not get moved in prayer or by prayer it is my deep connection with something greater than myself. Maybe it’s a basic life force or universal energy or godliness that I am seeking and which I have found—hope to find again—at that juncture of man and woman. Or perhaps it is my wishful condensing of all my needs at this time into that one thing that I can’t have, rather than spread out all of my needs and desires into an endless list and array of things that would be overwhelming, I have chosen to focus on this seemingly attainable thing.

Maybe I am downsizing my needs. Now that my marriage has fallen apart and I have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor and then a love seat in the guest bedroom for more than three years, maybe that is all I can hope to attain. Maybe it symbolizes my journey into the future, by focusing on something that can only happen in the future, I am easing myself out of this horrible place I am in currently.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)