As I begin to hug again…

I hold the person inside my arms like it was nothing. Inside my nothing arms I hold the whole of who I am with that person. I hold on and then something shakes loose and my breath catches. My breath catches on something and then what has been hurting is wrung out of me and up into the air.

I smell the person inside my arms as if they are a memory summoned. I summon them from inside my phone and into being inside my arms. Patchouli and palo santo sticks on my shirt ’til later that night. I leave better having been hugged by them.

I watch as the moment before we embrace, we decide to embrace. We make the informed decision. We remember that we are allowed, by science, by protection. I embrace them and remember who I am. The lengths that we will go to be held.

The memorial covered in red poppies, the giant oaks on the hill, the rent-controlled studio apartment, the citibike docking station, the school playground that belongs to whoever is in it. Morning hugs, evening hugs, hugs for hugs’ sake.

I have been off social media. I am on hugs. I am making plans to see you.
I want to walk and talk and hide in the musk of the linden trees.

Tell me where to go.

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Lauren Sharpe

brooklyn, ny — theater maker/feels taker/educator/learner she/her/hers