When the short, old, white guy in a blue jacket drops by the café where I write, like clockwork, a couple of beefy regulars shout, jumping out of their seats, and one-by-one, heave their hulking bodies into his arms for a hug.
Joe holds the tender brutes to his small, sturdy chest, everyone laughs and the room heats up. I’ve been eyeing this hugger for months, I can’t hold back anymore, so I wait my turn in line and put in my request: what’s up with all the hugs?
The all-knowing owner of the café brings us tea and smiles.
I look at Joe, searching. He looks through me.
It is, he says.
Is what? I squint.
What is, is, the owner speaks for his friend. He has hugged Joe for years.
Joe’s eyes shine. It’s spontaneous. It’s not their bodies, it’s their souls touching mine.
I am irritated and intrigued. I had…
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