Looking for Hugs

Getting them from the wrong people, giving them to the wrong people


“Sometimes, I just want to listen to sad music in a dark room, and pass away.”

She takes a swig from the mug of beer. Puts it on the table. Stares at it like she’s looking for something. Doesn’t find it. Picks up her cigarette. Stares out the window.

I’m supposed to play the sympathy game here, but I don’t much feel like it.

“Sometimes,” I say, “I just want a hug.”

“I’m being serious, you know.”

My turn to stare out the window. Look moody. Shrug.

“Yeah, I know,” I say. “Me too, though.”

“Sometimes it’s so lonely, all of it so overwhelming, I just don’t want to be around anymore. I wonder whether it would be easier that way.”

“Sometimes, I wonder if it would be selfish to ask for a hug, but not reciprocate — just be one hundred percent on the receiving end for a change. Sometimes I just want to wallow in that feeling for a while.”

“What?”

“You’ve never had that?”

“Had what?”

“That desire. To just be completely selfish.”

“I’m talking about dying here.”

“Well, I mean, it’s not like you’re really going to take your own life. Right?”

“I could, you know.”

“I know you could, I just don’t think you will.”

“And if I did?”

Well, what if, I suppose.

“I guess… I’d have to find someone else to bully?” I say.

“You’re horrible.”

“Thank you.”

We allow a moment to pass for beer and cigarettes.

“Hugs, then?” she says.

“Hm. I could give you a hug.”

She looks at me. I shrug.

“You don’t even have to hug me back,” I say.

“Would you?”

“I’m not very good at them.”

“Meh.”

“Alright, I’m doing it.”

“Do it.”

“I’m really going to.”

“I dare you.”

If she were taller, I imagine, it would be less awkward.

“How’s that?” I ask.

“You really aren’t very good at this, are you?”

“It’s got to be at least better than suicide.”

“Well… I guess it’s not so bad.”

“Would you like it better if I hummed some sad music?”

“Just stop talking.”

And I do.

I feel her smile in the folds of my sweater, and her head nuzzle into my chest. Warmth spreads from her body to my arms. There is comfort here. A comfort for one.

Funny that on cold winter nights, it’s oftentimes the false impressions, the misinterpretations, and the lies that make for the thickest, warmest blankets.

And I wonder why it is that the girls that fall for me the hardest, and the girls I genuinely care for the most, are always the ones I can never seem to love back.


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