I used to hate physical human contact. I still do sometimes, but in recent months, I’ve started to mind it less and less. A year ago I could not hug people. I could not hold hands with anyone. The idea of kissing someone almost gave me a panic attack. It turns out that exposure to some very touchy friends was the best therapy. It’s all hugs and cuddling with them.
I barely remember Saturday. For some reason it was a blur. I know I spent most of it with Sam, and then with all my friends at his house. At some point we walked into town and got food. Sam, Ben, and I got lost in the woods. We watched Mystery Men in Sam’s basement. Ben sat on my lap texting his now-girlfriend Kate, while everyone else was in a heap until, eventually, everyone else left and Sam piled onto Ben and me, and we all cuddled together for hours. One of us said “I love you guys” every minute or so.
Two of my best friends and darkness and warmth. Snuggling, I realized, is one of the most heartwarming human instincts. It is not overrated. A void was being filled that I didn’t know existed. Sure, I got affection from my parents, but friends are different. You rarely get a chance to express how much you all mean to each other.
Ben’s phone chirped and he said goodbye. We didn’t move as we listened to his feet ascending the hollow wooden stairs up to the kitchen. The basement was quiet and black except for the colored lights of the Mystery Men title screen, which illuminated our faces with blues and purples. My head was on Sam’s chest, and I could hear his heartbeat and feel him breathing. I twitched occasionally, which I always do when I think too much about staying still. I thought about how I didn’t want to leave, how I wanted to stay like this forever, but 11 PM was my curfew. “I have to go,” I said, and didn’t. Ten minutes passed. I finally summoned the willpower to go home.
I am happy.
I leave and my phone buzzes. It’s Sam, with a line from an e.e. cummings poem.
a connotation of infinity
sharpens the temporal splendor of this night
I know exactly what he means. ♦