Our First Hug

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He is my friend’s lover.

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Over coffee dates and over phone calls, she praises him as if he were a god. With a squeal and a radiant, teenage grin, she says to me, over and over again: He is the most fascinating, sexy, amazing man I’ve ever known!
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My dear friend is happy. And I am happy that she is happy.

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She says, I hope you’ll love him, too. 
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She tells me he is a quiet man. A man who selects friends and lovers carefully, with no great rush.
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And she always talks about his hugs. His amazing, mind-blowing hugs. She playfully warns me that, were I ever to have the pleasure of his embrace, all time would stop. I would pull back from his arms only to discover that five hours had passed and I had missed my bus. 
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The season is spring.

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He is wearing a dusty jean jacket from some long-ago decade. Simple wire, round glasses adorn his bearded face. To me, in this moment, he looks exactly like John Lennon. This is comforting.
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It is early in the evening, around seven o’clock. We are at a sacred sexuality workshop. All our friends are deliciously naked, mingling around the snack table, nibbling on chocolates and carrots. Giggling and flirting and silliness everywhere.
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My friend’s lover and I have been standing by the coffeepot: serene silence shared between sips. As he takes a step towards me, unfurling his arms in the universal gesture of let’s-hug-now, something inside me trembles. Time already seems strange. I make some sort of stupid joke, stalling. My heart is pounding. It feels like my words are some defense—but for what? I suddenly feel young, like a child.
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I’ve heard about your hugs, I say. Should I be nervous?
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No, he replies. A kind smile. Gentle, merry eyes.
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We embrace.
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I sigh. I melt. Something new is now here.

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We stand here … minutes or hours, I’m not sure … the din and chaos of happy friends all around us. We are floating. We are floating in a sea of love and touch: no boat, no anchor, no map or plan. There is just this.

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Only this.
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Always.
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