Hugs

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

There are some days when the energy is so low that you don’t need to even get out of bed. Today was such a day and I was feeling quite exhausted and overwhelmed. In the past few days, my boss had made me over-worked by constantly asking one task after the other. It’s not only the workload that I am depleted with, but her attitude made me crazy, and it’s not just me but everyone in the office has got the same idea about her.  When today’s work was over, I was a bit relaxed, but still worried at the back of my head, as tomorrow the same routine will be repeated, but that’s that!

On my way back home, the rain started, and it got pleasant. The climate of my city is amazing, even in the middle of the summer, a continuous downpour can bring a chill. I get off the bus at my stop and bought some smokes from the corner shop, where I was greeted by the familiar faces. Most of them were their way back home, and feeling the chill in the air, they are in a hurry to get back. The pavement was mostly covered in wet leaves and small puddles were starting to appear. I noticed a mum trying to stop her young getting too excited as he was stomping at every single puddle he got his feet on. I smiled at his innocent little game.


I remembered it was Wednesday, which is not a favorite day of the week unless it is a day off, I smiled in my thoughts. Though the rain was not heavy, everyone was rushing inside. Some having an umbrella and some wearing raincoats and rain boots. They knew how this rain can change into something much heavier and then they could not completely remain dry. There was a second chance of downpour so I went straight to my flat, without any encounter. I hurriedly change, as I was wet to my skin, put some water for my coffee, and sat on my preferred spot near the windowsill. I was listening to my favorite tunes when something drew my attention outside the window. I walked into the balcony and was alarmed to see a kitten soaked in water and was shivering with cold. I looked here and there; no one was on the street to notice it. Without given another thought, I rushed out, putting a light jacket and taking an umbrella with me, in a rush I managed to take a small towel with me.


I arrived at the spot, where I thought, I saw it last, but she might have moved a bit, but I found her and picked her. She was wet like a blanket left in the open on a rainy night. She felt the warmth of my hands and opened her little eyes. I felt relieved to see that she was breathing. After wrapping that towel around her, I quickly went inside where I hair-dried the kitten. Suddenly, she was looking all perked up and puffy. It seems like somebody has put air into her wool, looking like a hen who was about to lay an egg. I fed her some milk and she relaxed right in my lap. I noticed that she got a golden fur and maybe hardly one week old.

I was not feeling hungry that evening as I had a heavy lunch, courtesy of my boss. Whenever she used to overwhelm her employees with tons of work and wanted the results immediately, lunch was her way of saying ‘well-done’.

I had a glass of hot chocolate while scrolling through my emails. I recalled that I have to call my mum. She was surprised to get that phone call because it’s very unusual for me to call her like this, but I did. She and my dad, along with the rest of the family were doing okay. She told me that she met with one of my old classmates back in my hometown and told her about me. It was a nice feeling, I promise her to go and see her whenever I was in town. She invited me for a weekend brunch on Saturday.


Ever since my break-up with my girlfriend, my parents are worried about me. They are not imposing folks, but still concerned parents. The weekend brunch was an attempt of me getting back to normal life.


It seems a long time ago, but it happened that day when I met my then-girlfriend. It was at a friend’s party. We were an instant hookup. She was sweet, kind, and undeniably attractive. I was amazed to know that she didn’t have any boyfriend yet. I too was single. One thing led to another and there we handed in hands waving goodbye to single life.

I was so lost up in my thoughts and didn’t notice that the kitten had woken up and was now looking very energetic.  She jumped out of my lap and started exploring the surroundings.


I was started to feel exhausted, so I picked the kitten and put her in a shoebox and went to bed. As I left her in the living room, she started to meow. I didn’t know what to do. Anyhow, I thought, she needed a company, so I let her sleep on my bed near me.


The next morning, leaving the kitten in my apartment, I left for work. The day was a usual one. Sun was shining after a whole night of raining, and it was comfortably warm. When I returned, my cat was fine. She snuggled against me showing me that she missed me. I put her away for a while and then started patting her, we both were enjoying it.


On the weekend when I visited my folks, my old class fellows were there. I got a lot of hugs from them. I was amazed to know they still remembered that a certain strong smell will put me off, so nobody was wearing any. It gave me great comfort. I brought my cat with me and it seemed she enjoyed their company too. We chatted and had a wonderful time. Lauren was missed; she was my ex-girlfriend. Nobody inquired too-much about our break-up. We drove up to the city and went to our favorite mall. After browsing through some shops, we watched a movie. Back at my mums, my cat, which I was now calling silky, was very playful. I slept at my parents that night.


The next morning I slept in. My mum had bought me a litter box and some cat food.  I enjoyed the weekend there and then went back to my place. On Monday I went to work. The silky, now a healthy beautiful cat was my flat companion for the autumn.


Once in a while, I recall those moments spent with my girlfriend. There was no question; she was a sweet, nice, and loving girl. After meeting with her and we being together, I felt that I found my soul mate and that we will be together forever. We were pretty settled in our lives, she had moved in with me and everything was going fine. As we lived together, things started to change at a slow pace.

Before moving in with me, I had made her fully aware of my condition and we talked about this a lot. She realized that I am on the spectrum and have high sensory functionality. All of my friends already knew that and she got enough information about me from them too, and everyone in our circle was happy for us. She liked my routines and my different take on life.  I was over the moon. She was also very much relaxed and wanted to be with me.


I am too sensitive to touch, especially when someone touches me off-guard. Hugging is my least forte. Though, I don’t mind them, especially from loved ones, as sometimes I did need those.  Lauren knew that but knowing something and living with it, are two different things.


I appreciated her touch, smile, and everything about her. The slightest change on her face in the morning didn’t go unnoticed by me.  Nature has created me differently but has also given the gift of observation.  The unique observations, which of course, I can’t miss.


I researched a lot about my condition, read every bit of information, which not only helped me a lot, but I frequently passed it on to the people with similar conditions or for others to understand. Being so near to others, especially during a hug is too intimate for me. Sensory stimuli are so intense that it overwhelms me. Despite that, I used to hug her whenever she was sad or if something bothered her. I knew what hugs can do to people.  She always hugged me back or caressed me, whenever I needed it. She had always given me space whenever I felt flabbergasted by physical stimuli. 

In reality, I missed her. It was just a small bridge to make, a meager effort, and a small gully to jump upon, but I think, it was too much for her. I was upset the day she told me about moving out. I was shocked and dismayed and couldn’t eat or felt like doing anything for the first few days. My parents were there for me on every step of my life and now I needed them more than ever. I wanted to scream and yell. I was deeply hurt but wanted to give her space. Maybe she wanted a regular guy; the one who can understand her and her clues. She wanted hugs, I think, and lots of them.

I regret that I should have told her more about me and the condition I am associated with. I should have told her that I knew hugging releases oxytocin, the love hormone, and how it reduces the stress level, improves immunity, reduces blood pressure, and improves the well-being of the person who is being hugged. Hugs are comforting for me too, but it’s not always the case. The processing in my brain is different. I should have told her that my responses to touch may not be the same and the reaction is quite different. I have read lots of research done on autistic people. I think it’s not bad after all, but most of the time people are quick to judge my altered response to a tough, for example, a hand-shake or sometimes a hug.


Fortunately, my parents were always communicating with me. They were the reason I am so confident in my life. They went along with my condition and encouraged me to read and know about it. They instill into my brain that all this information is to get myself to know better and not to label me.

Hugging is an affectionate way of showing how one feels about the other. Even animals do hug and show their fondness in the herd and to each other.


My parents started visiting me every day, except on rainy days, since the break-up.  My mum hugged me and my dad embraced me. I felt better during their visit. We talked about everything, from my interest to theirs.  We watched family videos, where everybody was hugging. When we came back from a trip or visited our families. When I was a kid they used to kiss me on both cheeks. It always gave me a strange sensation. Every single one from the closest family tried to kiss and hug me.


During my early life, completely oblivious to my hypersensitivity to touch, my parents attributed my odd behavior to jet-lag or that I am tired or missing home. When I watched these home videos with my parents, I realized that hugging was everywhere.  Every Tom, Dick, and Harry hug, Women, men, and then sometimes they got bear-hugs. It showed the closeness and dynamics of the culture and there different take on socializing with the loved ones and their affection for each other. Every culture has its way of showing affection. They are completely asexual hugs, usually, women hug women and men hug men, but it’s not always the case, opposite sexes do hug one another if they are close.


By the time I was in my teens, I was pretty well prepared for the different kinds of hugs I was going to get, especially from very over-excited aunts. After realizing my sensitivity to touch, my parents tried to get in between me and the hugs. It was a wonderful experience too despite my different sensations to touch.


Some days my mum asked me about any emails from Lauren, and getting the answer by just looking into my eyes. My dad encouraged me by always saying that in relationships these things happened, she will write.


Well, I can’t take her off my mind; she was a part of me, albeit for much less time. Each day I wait for her, I know she is loving and caring and she will realize that I and her are a couple made in heaven. This time, I will hold her tight and will give all the hugs she ever require, wanted, or needed, and will never let her go.


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