Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Sometimes you see two people hug. Maybe a father and a wayward son, maybe a grandmother and her new baby granddaughter, perhaps just two old college roommates, and for a fleeting moment you feel a surge of unplaced love, of longing, of brotherhood. Maybe that’s one of the secrets of the universe, a way of spreading humanity and kindness, through a witnessed hug. You can see the love, the cheeks touching, the smelling of hair, the back slaps, the jovial laughs, the quivering lips, and the aching hearts. It’s beautiful.
The other day I saw two friends hug. They obviously hadn't seen each other in a long time. Maybe it was months, but it could have been longer. All I saw was genuine love, pure excitement, and it made me smile. But I don’t know these two guys, and never will. So why was I moved? Why was I so briefly affected by this display of friendship? I don’t know. Maybe I needed to see it. Maybe I was having a bad day, or just a bad hour. The reality is I was moved because I witness in graceful brevity two people who cared about each other, and for the tiniest moment the earth froze for them. Nothing else mattered but their embrace, and their mutual feeling of acceptance.
I am not the kind of person that weeps upon seeing a vivid rainbow, and I do not tear up when I see a person helping a stranger. But a well-written movie, a penetrating song, a word, a hug (apparently), can elicit a peculiar liquid from my eyes.
Not all of us are huggers, but all of us are lovers. Whether we are extroverts or hermits, we need and yearn for love. We might not fancy a bear hug from a parent or even a side hug from an acquaintance, but we all need a little love sometimes. And sometimes that love comes in the form of a reminder. Somehow seeing two grown men in suites made me think of my father, of how much it means to hug him sometimes. Most of the time it is just ritual, part of the life of two semi affectionate people. But sometimes the days are too hard, and too many, and our shoulders collide and we hold on a little longer, silently telling each other that it will be okay, it will get better.   
I don’t know what has come over me. Sometimes I feel like I am going through manapause. I get these random waves of sentimentality. These waves are uninvited, unmanly, and a little nauseating to others I am sure. But better to be maudlin than to be course and emotionally impenetrable I suppose.

I will finish with words that hopefully encapsulate what I am trying to say. Okay it doesn't really encapsulate things necessarily, but it is cute and needs to be said. I thank Deb Caletti for the following reminder: “That’s what people do who love you. They put their arms around you and love you when you are not so lovable.”