Somewhere to Belong

It’s amazing how good arms that want you can feel. Like: This is where I belong—you belong with me.

Hugs, like most things, come in all types. The good, the bad, the just plain awkward. Long hugs, laughing hugs, crying hugs, I-don’t-know-where-this-arm-over-under-ooh-ouch-oops hugs. “I don’t want to smother you, little person” hugs, “you’re smothering me, big guy” hugs. Oxygen-sparse group hugs, head-clanking side hugs.

“Ick. Side hugs are like—kissing Catholic ladies.”    Melissa Dorr

In my group of friends we’ve recently installed the kiss-and-hug, although Sophia and I are the only ones who’ve made a regular habit of it (six-month-old nieces are good for those kinds of things). There’s nothing like a baby around to make you realize how much physical communication is innately part of us. She isn’t much for cuddling, but she likes to look at and feel faces, be tickled, be kissed. It’s nice. There’s something wonderfully intimate about touch—even when it’s a vice-like grip on your nose.

I’ve been giving a lot of “hello” and “goodbye” hugs recently. Both are hesitant in their own ways—the first, not knowing where you stand with a person—the second, not wanting to let go of them.

I wish I could just gather up all the people I love and take them with me everywhere. We could buy a boat and sail the world. Always at home. Always adrift. But always together.

6 thoughts on “Somewhere to Belong

  1. Yes, yes, I have experienced all those kinds of hugs (with the exception of the smothering of a little-person, since I am more or less usually the little person)!

    I want to live with you on your boat :)

  2. RE: effervescently critical

    In that case, I may have something I want you to critique more. ^_^
    How much time for this have you had lately?

    RE: your post. This subject I’m a bit reserved about.
    I want the side-hug option open in terms of hugging guys I’m either too conscious of, or don’t feel comfortable getting that close to.
    I’ve learned to do what can only be called the “hollow hug” for cases where that’s not appropriate.
    This is partly because I was never in a hugging culture, not in a church or in family (except when we were back from far away), I think.
    But I do think we don’t get enough touch, and would like to be better about this. I think it makes the consciousness worse.

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