That Long Hug


It had been a lovely evening.  He was visiting her city for a day.  He flew in that morning, had meetings during the day, and would fly out back to his city later that day.  They had squeezed in some evening time – post meeting, pre-flight – to spend together.  Long distance teaches you time management well.

She first took him to her favorite restaurant in the city. It was a quaint and eclectic café serving organic food. It had such a charm to it that beseeches one into meaningful conversations. He loved the ambience. She knew he’d be hungry after a long day. She ordered all her favorite dishes. It didn’t matter to her whether it was significantly more food for two people to finish. She just wanted to see him eat, at least a part of, every dish. It was almost as if she was offering herself to him. Like every flavor represented a dimension of her. She wanted to make sure that he felt satiated. He did.

They later walked along the queen’s necklace, holding hands. It was enchanting. The sea breeze was singing for them. Their conversation ranged from the mundane to the spectacular. He wanted to hear her talk. He wanted to continue being with her. But it was time to go. She, always a reluctant planner and organizer, looked at her watch with acute sadness. At that very moment, as he looked at her face, he was overcome by grief and guilt. He had no control over those emotions; as if the sea breeze had carried a mountain of those sentiments from a far-off shore and deposited on him.

He hugged her. Tightly. And for a long time. It was as if he was hugging her a final goodbye. She felt uncomfortable but sensed his pain and fear. That long hug had its own language. It was communicating for them without words and without eyes. He was a broken individual. He couldn’t see her go through the pain of piecing him together and get bruised in the process. She was a strong woman who could undertake this journey to mend his soul but he wouldn’t let her hurt herself in that process. She deserved better. They remained silent after that long hug; they didn’t need to speak. He left.

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