While at Bonnaroo my partner and I wore “Free Hugs” T-shirts and gave hugs to anyone who asked. The whole experience was fun, but two moments in particular really stand out.
The first of those moments was the first hug I gave where the other person really put all of herself into the hug. You know what I’m talking about. A quick squeeze and a pat on the back is nice, but that deep warmth we feel when someone really hugs with their whole body and is fully present and committed to the act… that’s divine. And she came in for a hug and we wrapped our arms around each other and we both just held on firmly and gently. As we slowly let go she said “Oh, you give good hugs!”
“So do you!” I exclaimed.
From there we went into a short conversation about why we were going around giving hugs. She said if she was doing it it would be to make other people feel good. I told her that part was nice, but in all honesty I was doing it because I liked hugs, and because it was a way to make sure I actually got my quiet, sometimes shy self interacting with other people at the fest. We went our separate ways, and I didn’t see her again, but that hug still lingers. I can feel the warm echoes of in my arms.
The second was another fully committed hug. In the midst of it the man I was hugging said with all sincerity, “I love you, brother.” And it was just real and beautiful, and something I’ve returned to in my mind a few times since.
I love you.