thinking baby butts, diapers, urine and feces, gross sights and smells? think again.
Maybe, it is me who is too stuck up. Maybe it is me who cannot wrap my head around a concept so simple. Maybe somehow, I insist that kissing it where it hurts does not make it better. Maybe, I have lost touch with my inner child. Maybe I am too caught up in reality.
I also understand that perhaps a hug is the most intimate gesture you can manage. Drawing it out until our bodies hurt from sheer exhaustion, perhaps represents an even deeper level of connection. My back hurts from bending towards you, I’m sure your back must hurt a little too. If not your back, then those dainty little toes, those ankles, stretched out to put you on tiptoes and drag your body upwards to wrap your arms around my neck. They must hurt a lot by now. It’s OK to break it off now. The hug that is.
After such a sappy exchange, it seems wrong to shake my head no, when you ask
“Are you okay now?”
Well, a hug as intimate as it is in your eyes, remains what it truly is in mine – a gesture. And gestures are only representative of something- a shadow of the real thing. A handshake is not commitment to a deal, but it is a gesture of commitment. It means that after the handshake, the real action begins. Committees are set up, policies are drafted, a plan is made and followed up until the desired results become palpable- now that, is commitment to a deal. It could happen with or without shaking hands over the deal. As important as a handshake might be as a gesture, ten thousand handshakes will not, nay cannot, substitute the hard work, sleepless nights and blistered fingers required to demonstrate actual commitment to the said deal.
Pardon me then, if I don’t share your fixation on the gesture. I have already forgotten about it. My eyes are on the target. On the real deal.
My people say that when a goat’s back itches, he finds a tree and scratches itself on the bark of the tree, but when a person’s back itches, he calls out to his kinsman and says
“Brother, please help me scratch my back”
Again, they say that the reason we like to come out and sing and dance, play and tell each other tales by the moonlight is not so that we can all see the moon. Everyone they said, can see the moon- full and ripe from the comfort of their own backyard. Why then, do we all gather together and jamboree? Because it is good for people to be together.
I cannot both be a human being with the higher faculties of speech and mentation and still resort to reading your smiles and frowns, your sighs and hisses, your positions and postures, but not your words. I could, if I wanted, but I choose not to. I want to hear from your lips, your dreams, your aspirations, your goals, your plans. That’s the easy part. I also want to hear your fears, your regrets, the mistakes you hope to never repeat, what keeps you up at night, what secrets the wind cannot swirl away. Ouch! I might have cut a little bit too close.
If after we have gone through a quarter hour of “huggies” we still cannot speak honestly and clearly, one to the other, then that gesture is empty.
I reiterate. I love you and I could love you a thousand times more, but if we do not learn to communicate our hopes, fears, secrets and regrets to each other, we could never learn to be together. And one day, one blessed day, we’ll both wake up and discover that we’re both better off without each other.
And yes, you’ll love again. And he’ll love you a thousand times more fervently than I could ever manage. But if you two still do not learn to communicate, you both will wake up one day and walk away from each other…