Somebody needs a hug.
Aw, I know you. You'd give them one if you could. Heck, if you knew I needed a hug, you'd probably reach right through the interwebs and give me one. Maybe you would squeeze me really tightly for a second or two then release me and continue to hold me at arms length so we could look at each other while we talked. Maybe you'd hug me so hard my feet would leave the floor and you'd shake me like a rag doll for a second or two (wow, you're really strong). Maybe you'd pull my head to your shoulder and pet me like a child. Maybe you'd put your arms so far around me that I disappeared in them or maybe you'd pat me awkwardly on the shoulder because you never cared for the whole hug thing but you understand that sometimes it's just a thing one does.
Why are you squeezing me with your body?
But what happens after the hug? Oh come on. I hear you singing "bow-chicka-bow-wow". It's not that kind of post and it's not that kind of hug. But when somebody needs a hug -- and we give it to them, literally if proximity allows and figuratively if it doesn't -- what happens next? Because realistically -- as nice as it sounds to say it -- you can't hug all day -- or even longer than a moment or two. Consider the lovers who wanted to spend eternity in one another's arms. The first few moments were bliss. Then their arms started to cramp. Positions were shifted, but nothing was sustainable for long. Eventually they became hungry. At the risk of being crass, bodily functions became necessary. Spending eternity in someone's arms is a romantic notion, but one that can never actually be achieved.
Ok maybe these two, but...
What happens after the hug? Think about the times we say, "I need a hug". We're usually feeling kind of crummy. Sometimes -- when I'm feeling crummy -- that well intentioned hug brings tears rather than comfort. I never mean for it to happen. I'm just hanging in there -- feeling crummy, but holding it together -- then I accept a hug and -- bam -- some kind soul has a less than delightful mascara stain on their shirt. Oops. It's like that hug grants permission, "You rest. I've got this. You don't have to be strong anymore." Okay -- a good cry can be cathartic. So that's a possible result. But thankfully, it's not the usual one. Nobody likes a cry baby.
Why is a three second hug so wonderful, then? Does the shadow of a good hug linger on us like a ghost? Does it make a physical impression on us that keeps us warm long after the embrace or is the impression merely figurative? Does any of this matter? A hug feels nice -- even if only for a moment. Sometimes a moment is enough. Hugs remind us that we are loved and safe and cherished.
Things have been rough.
I need a hug.
I know you'd give me one, if you could.
Knowing that feels pretty nice.
I'll try not to wreck your shirt.