Monday, February 19, 2007

A Time to Refrain From Embracing

I find myself wanting to reach out and touch the people around me. Not in the AT&T, "Make a connection!" sort of way. I mean physically. I find myself craving that contact. I guess it's just been a really long time since I had to go for so long without regular phyical contact.

Don't get all dirty on me - that's not the kind of contact I mean. I'm talking about hand-holding, daily hugs, goodnight kisses, snuggling together before falling asleep - those little things that seem so minor, yet add up to everything that matters. And it's been many years since I've had to do without that.

Last night, I even had a dream about it. About just walking, with a man. It's not someone I know in real-life - it was just a random dream person. He was tall, and we were walking side by side, his arm around my waist and mine around his. My head rested on his chest as we walked, because he was much taller than I am. I looked up at him and asked how tall he was, and he said, "Thirteen inches over you." Then, as I looked, he said, "You have the prettiest eyes," and I grinned and looked down shyly. After a bit more walking, I woke up. Nothing more than that contact, yet it was a wonderful dream.

I miss a lot of things about J. I miss our dinners together - stir fry, sausage sandwiches, avocado chicken. I miss having a built-in partner to walk at my side at every major event I had to attend. I miss his "I'm proud of myself" dance, when he would close his eyes and give his smug little grin and stand there pumping his fists and twisting his ribcage and looking like such a huge dork that I couldn't help but laugh.

But most of all, I miss reaching out in the middle of the night, running the back of my hand across his neck, right where his hair curled up at the end. Many a night I would wake in the dark, anxious or stressed or generally overwhelmed by life, and that light touch would comfort me enough that I could fall back asleep - it anchored me to an uncertain world.

These days, I sleep alone, and when I reach out in the night, I touch a pillow, or a blanket, or the wall, or just air. And more often than not, when that happens, I lie awake, and stare into the darkness, listening to a heavy silence broken only by my own mournful sigh.

Without that touch - and a million others like it - I just feel more alone, more isolated, more frightened of an unknown future.


Amanda said...

I had a moment like that today. I was in the back room at work, and my friend was standing on a stool, putting this box up on a high shelf (a big box), when she lost her grip on it. It was ackward and I put my hands underneath to try and steady it, but even with two of us, she couldn't quite get ahold of it still, so this guy that we work with came up behind me and kind of leaned against me, reaching over to help.
I have no interest in this person WHATSOEVER, but I just had this moment where I was like...Oh my gosh. I haven't had a guy that close to me in a long time...It was weird, and reminded me of guy proximity. :) *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I find myself wanting to ask what happened, but I'm sure if I read more archives, I'll find that answer.

The other day, I had a discussion with my son about the two types of people: the ones who are made to be single, and those who are not. I was never intended to be single. I crave all those things you mentioned here.

I believe that God doesn't put a desire in our heart to leave it unfulfilled. Patience and peace, knowing that, in good time, you will know fulfillment.

Domestic Slackstress said...

It's odd ... I've gotten more desensitized to human touch now that I've had three children. I'm touched, over-touched ... all touched out. Sometimes I want to scream "Stop TOUCHING mommy!" but I know it would be cruel and hurt my kids, who so need physical affection right now, in their formative years. While I'm overly touched by my kids, my husband and I don't touch as much as before we had kids, as you might expect. Seems like a natural progression, though not a welcome one for him. After having my hair pawed at by little paws all day, I don't seem to have much room for my husband's touch. I remember when I used to crave being touched but that seems so long ago. Reading your perspective brings it all full circle. Thanks for being so candid and thanks for your reassuring comments on my blog tonight.

Anonymous said...

I've found, over the past couple of years, that it's my night-self---both waking and sleeping---who is best able to grieve. It's also my night-self who most craves physical contact, and I've had more chaste, hand-holding dreams than I can count!

This is all meant to mean that I REALLY get where you're coming from. It's hard, and it hurts, and you might adapt to the loneliness only to be caught, surprised, by a new kind of intimacy. You feel things deeply, and I think that means that there's hope for you yet. :)

CC said...

*hug* Even though I am not in the same situation, I can grasp what you mean by the emptiness, and I am sorry that you feel so lonely.

On another note, I have never seen this "proud of myself" dance and am very curious!

Anonymous said...

This may not work for night-time, but during the day you should continue to give out hugs =) Every time I get a hug from you, I feel warmer and happier, like I got a real hug, even though usually it's you going through something tough right at that moment, you who presumably needs the support. Hopefully these moments are helpful to you as well, and if so, you have a gift for providing those small but crucial bits of physical contact, so don't refrain from embracing! =)

Dee said...

Much like Domestic Slackstress I feel like I am touched too much. Having a toddler around certainly changes the way you see touch. By the end of the day the last thing I want is for someone else to touch me.

Your post brought back that feeling of craving someone else's touch though. Somewhere deep down I do remember what that was like. I remember the days when there was nothing better than snuggling up on the couch, holding hands, or even just a quick kiss. I need to keep that in mind when my Hubby is asking me for more affection. I imagine he misses that feeling too.

Unknown said...

I think that, certainly, craving touch is like, a human thing that we do. At least I certainly do. After Jack died, I hugged myself constantly, wrapped up as tightly as I could in a blanket every night, surrounded myself with pillows, stuff like that. It's really difficult to readjust to that reality of physical aloneness, especially when you're so alone mentally that you just want anything BUT to be alone physically!

I think that it'll make finding the right person all that much sweeter. Cuddles will return and life will be good again. (Maybe not in that order.)

Amanda said...

I almost always have someone in my arms, whether it's one of my daughters or my husband. There is not a day that goes by that I don't at some moment count my blessings for their presence in my life. It was the feelings that you are expressing, the moments in time when I yearned for someone or something that help me to now truly appreciate what I have.
I agree with TSM - it'll come. For now, let me give you a pearl:

Stretch out, sleep diagonally, eat crumbly stuff in bed, change the sheets as often as you want and hog or kick off the covers at will!

dancing dragon said...

Even with the sadness, this post was beautiful. Those are two of the most beautiful images. They're peaceful and calming in a way.

I feel like you're meant to find that beauty again, and even in a better and stronger way. Much easier to believe from the outside, I know, because people have told me that too.

Jane said...

I found your blog through California Teacher Guy and I have really enjoyed reading your back posts.

Lara said...

amanda - yeah, i know what you mean, about how even when you're not actually interested the proximity is exciting. one of my friends and i have talked before about how when we dance with a really good waltzer, who also happens to be cute, we "fall a little bit in love" for those three minutes on the dance floor. *sigh* indeed.

TSM - short version: my fiance (J.) and i broke up. but yes, read through the archives. just 'cause i like my archives. i know i'm not meant to be single. i've always known my place is to be a wife and mother. i just wanted it much sooner than it's apparently destined to be.

domestic slackstress - i guess that makes sense, but it still seems sad, no? i guess that's just the trade-off, though, huh? and you're quite welcome for the encouragement, because it was deserved.

jen - i really like that phrase: "night-self." because it is, in many ways, a different me than this daytime-self, the self that the world sees. just as real, but different.

CC - hooray for hugs from friends! and yes, you should definitely see the dance, because it's HI-larious.

tali - i probably couldn't actually refrain from embracing if i tried. but fear not - hugs from me will continue uninterrupted. :)

dee - like i said to domestic slackstress, i feel sad but understanding. i obviously don't know first hand, so i'm not going to judge and tell you what to do. but your thought about keeping that "missing" in mind with the hubby is probably worth a shot. :)

sassy - yep, i've surrounded myself with blankets and pillows too. but nothing seems to prevent that ache when i put my out and his head's not there in my reach.

amanda - i'm glad you're appreciating that touch, those blessings. i imagine i will as well... someday. as for your suggestions, i did those before. i just had J. sniping at me about them. ;)

dancing dragon - i find the images beautiful too, but understandably bittersweet. they remind me of wonderful times - times that are long gone now. someday, i know, i'll have such times again. but patience has never been my strong suit.

jane - well thank you! and welcome. :) i hope you keep reading!