I Wish I’d Hugged You Tighter

by Harris Sockel

I wish I’d hugged you tighter.

I wish I’d hugged you until your spleen came out your throat, and we could hold it between our chests like a baby in a Bjorn.

I wish I’d hugged you until I started laughing or having asthma attacks or just breathing heavier.

I wish I’d hugged you until the next hurricane. Until the young volunteers came up the stairs and knocked on our door and asked us if we needed anything and we said “No! We don’t! Go away let us have this hurricane ourselves!”

I wish I’d hugged you until my mother and father died and someone called me but my phone would be dead and melted by then, incorporated into the heat of our hug.

I wish I’d hugged you until everything I know you could know, too, and we could become one living Google doc with all our ideas in there like still-moving flies in a spider’s web, dying and vibrating in the doc.

I wish I’d hugged you until I starved and you starved but we could eat each other, I don’t care.

I wish I’d hugged you until we both turned into collar bones, one on top of the other, a human jigsaw puzzle where the pieces don’t quite fit so they’re harder to take apart.

I wish I’d hugged you until we became a Pulitzer Prize-winning portrayal of hugging. Until we could be the picture next to the word “hug” in the American Heritage Dictionary, and a woman with glasses would come to immortalize us in black straight lines on bleached white paper as smooth as the world would be without language.

I wish I’d hugged you until we both got tired of hugging but kept it up, like law students in their third year, convincing themselves that they love the law and are thereby able to love it even more straightforwardly than those who didn’t have to do any self-convincing.

I wish I’d hugged you until paramedics had to give us cortisone shots in the thigh and the upper arm to keep our muscles taut enough to hold the hug.

I wish I’d hugged you until CNN came and tried to interview us and had to hold the mics up to our mouths but we ate the mics because we were starving. We didn’t say a word, which only made the news like us more. And then MSNBC came to hold books in front of our faces so we could read to each other, while hugging, while feeling the breathing and vocalizing that happens when you read. While feeling each other’s ideas happen, like small waves crashing against concrete sea walls.

I wish I’d hugged you until the distinction between introvert an extrovert dissolved like the fuzz between our butt cheeks. Until we all of a sudden rejected the inventions of past/present/future/now/then, which have always held us like clamps.

I wish I’d hugged you until I began to gain muscle mass via the hug, but the muscle grew itself around your arms and shoulders and neck, so I would have looked deformed if we’d broken.

I wish I’d hugged you until our hearts beat faster and slower and faster again, doing a syncopated thing where mine beats after yours and then yours trails mine.

I wish I’d hugged you until my manic depressiveness came through, and I could tell you all my manic panics on your shoulder right into your ear and you could hug me tighter.

I wish I’d hugged you until the hoboes took all our change and credit cards and passwords and online identities and we didn’t scream, we just said take it, use it, we love you more than you’ll ever know. Please take it and eat doughnuts and then hug each other just like we are.

I wish I’d hugged you until we both got terminally ill with the same disease and the nurses had to come and bring all the tubes to your apartment.

I wish I’d hugged you until your head fell off and I could hold it between both of my hands behind your back.

I wish I’d hugged you until God sent down twelve thick bolts of lightning made of restless electron love and they sizzled us and made us both crap our pants involuntarily and made us never able to break, even if we wanted to.

I wish I’d hugged you until we could finally define the word “soul” and not tell anyone but come up with all the true antonyms and synonyms via whispering in each other’s ears and thus writing on each other’s brains.

I wish I’d hugged you until you could tell me the story of my genitalia and I could tell you the story of yours. Until everything about my body was written out on a scroll for you, like the Torah, and we’d read a portion every morning when we first opened our eyes.

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