I have developed a new obsession.
Since I have been single for so long I have recently become fixated on touch. I hug my kids all the time and there is nothing in this world better now than getting a hug from my granddaughter or a big smile and a squeeze from my grandson. What I miss though is the touch of someone, anyone (not one of my children though). This touch does not have to be in any way sexual but just the warmth of a hand on my arm would do. I have made a list of the recent events that have stuck in my memory where the touch of someone moved me in some way.
1. When off my work sick a couple of years ago I popped in to tell my boss something and my co-worker asked me how I was. Before I had the chance to answer her she had reached over the desk and put her warm hand on my forearm and gave it a litttle squeeze. This was memorable because of the concern in the touch, the warmth of her hand and the unexpectedness of it.
2. When I bumped into an ex-boyfriend a few weeks ago he grabbed me and pulled me into a big bear hug when he saw me then when we were talking he put his hand on my cheek. This stuck with me just because of the manliness of his hug and the intimacy of the hand on my face. He stepped beyond my imaginary barriers and pulled my senses into the present. It felt like there was genuine feeling behind the act. This display of intimacy is very rare in my life.
3. When getting a lump checked out with a mammogram the woman performing the procedure put her arms round me to make sure I leaned into the machine correctly and the warmth in her hands and the gentleness of her touch was a good distraction from the coldness and the painful squeeze of the machine.
4. I had surgery three weeks ago and the registrar came to tell me about the procedure, I was very nervous and scared. The consultant in the corner had just went through a list of everything that could go wrong with the operation, as the registrar was leaving he turned round placed his hand on my bare shoulder, gave it a squeeze and said everything was going to be okay. This helped me to relax a little and brought a little humanity to a very lonesome experience. When I came round from the anaesthetic the nurses asked me how I felt. I said sore and I could feel their hands on my arm administering some pain relief drugs. All I could think about however was the feeling that I could really have done with a big hug from anyone right at that precise moment in time.
5. About a year ago I had been a little depressed and was going through some sort of mini life crisis. My sister was having a few drinks at her house and had invited me to go in an attempt to cheer me up. I really did not want to go out, I thought I would have brought the mood down because I could not really see anything positive in my life right at that moment. I was eventually persuaded to go and walked up in the freezing cold to my sister house. I thought my sister was the only one who knew how I felt. When I stepped in her front door her fiancé was walking past the hall, dropped what he had in his hand and came up to me and pulled me into a huge hug. He asked if I was okay and blinking back tears I told him no. He said I know you’re not and gave me another squeeze. In that instant I felt better, I felt as if someone actually cared about me and the black mood lifted.
6. When reunited with an old friend in December 2010 he came to visit me in my house. He did not look very well when he arrived and after about twenty minutes I realised he was quite ill and should go home. He was not in any fit state to get home himself so I put my jacket on and walked him home. He was quite shaky so I held his hand and led him home. The significant thing about this was the hand holding. It was good to feel a guys hand in mine even for such an innocent act.
There are also times in my life when the lack of touch was very difficult.
1. After the birth of each of my children. The first time I was on my own and had no-one there to hug me. The second time my sister was there but I really missed having a guy there for the birth of my baby. The third time my other sister was there but she is not a hugger. The fourth time my baby’s father was there but he acted like it was an inconvenience to be there and it did not enter his head that I could have done with a hug. The fifth and last time I had a baby the house was busy with people but there was so much to do that I never got round to getting a hug from anyone.
2. On graduating from university the first time – my dad had died a couple of years before and he was the hug that was missing that time.
3. Everytime I hear Luther Vandross sing Dance with my Father. On the morning of one of my sisters weddings I was inconsolable at the thought that my sister was not going to have that father – daughter dance.
The touch that makes up for not having all of the above:
1. My kids hands in mine when I walk them to school.
2. My kids all in my bed for a chat in the morning.
3. Me and my kids all cuddled up on the couch with blankets and having a movie night.
4. My dog Zeke sitting on the couch right next to me with his head resting on my knee when all the weans are in bed because he is awesome and cuddly and just a big softie.
5. A hug from my sisters when we spend time together or see each other for the first time in ages.
6. A hug from certain people who without fail every time I see them give me a hug. This makes me look forward to visiting them.
7. A hug for my kids when they fall down and hurt themselves.
8. A hug from my kids when I am ill.
9. A hug from my son Somhairle because it is the nearest I can get to a hug from my dad. He is a great hugger and even my sisters come to visit just for a hug.
A hug is always appreciated in my house.