two hundred & twenty: closeness

sometimes, when i’m feeling really small and sad, i have this feeling of needing to be close. like, if it were possible to climb up and wind myself around someone, right up in their neck, hiding in, i would do just that. if it wasn’t weird, i would bury my face in to their softness and they would just hold me really close and we would stay there until i wasn’t so petrified, until the intense neediness for hearing their heartbeat and feeling their warmth abated.

*

i remember hugs and kisses being something that were owed to people; also something that was offered at family gatherings when people arrived or when we went to bed. it was expected. i’m sure i liked some of the kisses and hugs but really it was an assembly line, one relative after the other.

it was the same thing at home, really…before my brother and i laid side by side in his bed or clambered up into the big cushy rocking chair with a book, we’d dutifully find them to hug and kiss them goodnight, but then would tuck ourselves in afterwards.

i can’t think of many snuggles with my parents, is that weird? i do remember one time, when i had the stomach flu and was lying on my parents’ waterbed, watching tv with my mom. some awards show, i seem to recall. and i sat up suddenly, feeling horrifically sick, and threw up in a towel my mom held with cupped hands in front of me. and she didn’t get mad, she didn’t yell, she just stayed there, and held it, and that must’ve been so gross. i remember this often as an example for how she must have loved me at least a little bit.

or maybe she loved her comforter more and wanted to save it, i don’t know.

*

i do remember wanting cuddles, and getting them. my grandmother. my grade two teacher, who i loved with every inch of my seven year old heart, and who i followed like a puppy. (i adored her, i just wanted to be close to her, especially when she was on recess duty, so i could hold her hand, feel her warm next to me. she didn’t even have to talk to me. i just loved feeling her hand in mine.) a trusted family friend, who was soft all over and who smiled and called us ‘sweetie.’

*

sometimes pocketbrit takes my little one (i know i’ve said this before, it’s no surprise that after 220 days i’m getting redundant), and when she does, i often feel her leave me with an audible sort of thumping whoosh. and i don’t know if pocketbrit can feel her arrival, but her little body has the sense of being pressed so so so tight in, arms thrown around her, face pressed into her neck. my wee one doesn’t even move, it’s like she just wants to be part of someone else’s body, no space in between, so incredibly desperate.

and ugh, the hurt of it, how much we wanted closeness. how much we didn’t get it. how it doesn’t seem even possible to quench this boundless need with the love and closeness we do get today.

these are the times when i feel most tender towards her, when i feel the simplicity and rawness of her deepest desires: to be held. to be close.

and then i just want to rock her forever, never let go. poor love. poor sweet love.

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