Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Some Touches

When I come home Blossom wiggles, gets her newest dog toy out of our bedroom, acts silly then sits and waits for me to say “bacon,” or “biscuit.” Sometimes, when we cuddle after a separation, she makes a particular sound. It comes from deep down somewhere in her small body and it’s a welcoming grunt that expresses such satisfaction and pleasure in my being there with her again that I feel like I must be quite all right after all.

My mother didn’t hug often, but when there had been months or a year apart she would smash me to her and not let go for a long time. These were fierce, no holds barred, gorgeous hugs. Then, just when I’d start the thought, “this is too much now,” she would let me go. And I wouldn’t get another hug like that until after another time when I’d been away from her. The year she did her dying we touched more than at any time since I was a baby, because she had to hold on to me to move from one place to another, every single time.

The last few years of his life I kissed Dad on the top of his head each night when I went to bed. I think this surprised him for a while. I’m not sure he knew what to make of it, but this goodnight kiss thing felt right to me. Dad got used to it, then expected it, then, finally, looked for it. It was hard for him to embrace me or anyone else unless he was sitting down, and that was awkward. I mean during his last years, when he used two crutches.

Sam is an Applehead Siamese. He’s a big guy and picking him up for a few minutes is sensual, gratifying, calming. Samish (my name for him) doesn’t fidget, can be counted on to purr, and sends you these luxurious vibes. He’s not a lap cat, but when you pet him, he participates. You know, gazes into your eyes, scootches around some, lifts his head for an under chin rub. Benefits a-plenty if you spend a bit of time with our cat.

Mom and Dad are both gone and I’m divorced. I live with one of my brothers, and he and I don’t touch much. Maybe we’ll hug before and after one of us goes on a trip, but it’s a brief affair, and with him the wide smile is the thing. He’s glad to see me; I’ve no doubt of that. Maybe he’s relieved too, because I have a wonky heart. My youngest brother gave me frequent, fine hugs, which were just right, unless he’d been drinking. Then they’d feel suffocating and uncomfortable. I don’t think he ever knew this. He’s gone now, too. My older brother has a gift for touch. He not only embraces warmly, he’ll give me spontaneous little squeezes, or put a hand on my shoulder at the right moments. He lives far away, though.

I have a lot more to say, but I’ll wind down here. The thing that occurs to me is that it’s a damn good thing I have Blossom and Samish for day to day whenever I want them caresses. I don’t think I’ve examined this business before, but it turns out I need to now.
Hmph. You never know when something will get your attention, do you?

Nonnie Augustine
August, 2010


Anonymous said...

this is family lore and it always gets my attention as it swings through the moments of humor and pathos.The nine words that follow"Labels" are for me a poem from San Francisco c.1968

Karen said...

Love this writing, especially since I know the characters in the play. xo