Sep 19, 2013

A few hugs that meant a lot

(different yous all made one; a collective, a melding of personalities)

2008, I was at my church's prayer meeting for the first time. I was terrified. Wanted out. Was crying in fear. You came to me and gave me a long hug that made me feel protected, like I had someone beautiful and loving looking out for me. When Jason prayed for me, I told him that I was scared, but he didn't hear me. As he stood there with his hand on my head, though, I felt like he was my big brother, like I could entrust him with everything; as long as he was there, I didn't need to worry at all.

2013, post-Orientation. The first time I met you was at your own orientation the year before, and a fast, strong bond formed between us - you the wide-eyed junior still exploring and finding his way; me the excited senior experiencing life again through your lens. Full-circle - now this was the moment we had both been waiting for. And it was finally over. You had done it. We were both bursting with pride and the exhilaration of a year-long journey just completed. I was so proud of you. I gave you a hug to tell you so. And you held it long enough to bring us back both to the start, the initial excitement and the dreams, the fear and all the growth in a year. The tightness of your embrace said it's done. It happened. We came full circle. I was here at the start and now you did it; this is what we were waiting for.

And then there was the one that meant goodbye forever. But it was more than that. A goodbye with all the love, the overflowing joy; the nights of unbearable pain; every single word unspoken that would fill an auditorium and make it opaque. Love refusing to be spoken because you didn't want to acknowledge it, because this was goodbye forever and there was no space for hurt. Goodbye - you to your country, and me to my second home, but it already felt like we had been ripped apart three months before. What did this even mean anymore?

And then there was the one that said omg hello!!!!!! I was a little taken aback at first, but I was so happy to see you again, too. For all the good times, the heart-to-hearts, the unshakeable trust, the carefree atmosphere. Less and less so now but I still miss you, and I was so excited to see you again, too. Even though we had only not seen each other for less than a week. It felt so much longer than that. And with your love and mine, we will build the good times again.

And then there was the one that said you were vulnerable. Your shy, small-voiced request, and your quiet receptiveness. And I want to tell you it's okay. I need hugs all the time and I trust only you. If you won't ask for them, I will. I won't even ask. With you I am most comfortable, and friends are unreserved.

And then there was the one that said you knew. You knew I only had, and needed, you. You knew I hated it, and especially hated it being found out - I was afraid my neediness would betray me. You understood. And you said it was okay. You wouldn't run away.

The fact that you were fine with it was all I needed.

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