A young woman – Jamie – sits at a table in a coffee shop, alone, eating a salad and gazing at the empty chair across from her. The absence of her friend is almost palpable, but her eyes are guarded, as if she is waiting for her friend to appear before she lets down her emotional walls.
After 20 minutes slink by on the antique clock resting on a shelf above her head, Jamie takes a sip of her tea and sighs, a sound barely noticeable to the other coffee shop patrons. Her eyes flutter toward the empty chair again, but a slight squaring of her shoulders indicates that she is determined to be patient … waiting on the person who will complete her afternoon plans.
Before she can check her watch again, she hears an enthusiastic “hey!” as another women with red hair, chopped stylishly short, waltzes into the shop, book bag slung nonchalantly over her shoulder. Jamie lets her first smile of the afternoon slide across her lips, and she stands up to greet her bohemian friend.
However, even though a bond of friendship was obviously forged long before this moment, a common courtesy is still missing. Jamie stands up and holds out her arms, and her friend willingly steps into her embrace, wrapping her arms around Jamie’s back and squeezing tightly.
The hug communicates so much more than “hi, how are ya” … the 15-odd seconds that the hug lasted reaffirmed the friendship that the women had formed so long ago. It said, “You are welcome here … I desire to spend this time with you … you are safe.”
Jamie visibly relaxed, now that the chair across from her is filled with a friend who cares about her and wants to invest in her life. This intent didn’t even have to be spoken … the nonverbal communication of a hug was the sledgehammer that knocked down the emotional walls of her heart.
“… humans are profoundly social beings, who possess an inborn need to connect and bond with others. Connectedness, for the average, healthy person, is a part of who we are and how we function. It is wired into our brains when we are still in our mother’s wombs. This connectedness is passed on by our genes and is necessary for us to survive and thrive as healthy, capable persons” (“Hooked”, p. 60).
~ no holds barred ~