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Saturday, April 06, 2019


by Wayne Scheer

Hugs were rare where I grew up,
reserved for mother/son greetings
and father/daughter consoling.
I don't recall seeing
either of my parents hugging
a friend or each other, for that matter.
To the day he died,
my father and I shook hands.

My wife, on the other hand,
probably hugged the doctor at birth.
And after years of standoffishness,
she taught me to open up
and hug friends, male and female.

Yesterday, at an art museum.,
we met a friendly young couple
who live a couple houses down from us.
My wife went in for hugs
while I shook the man's hand
and proudly moved to hug the young woman.

As I opened my arms
I saw she had extended her right arm for a handshake,
a member of Pelosi's straight arm club, I presume,
but it was too late,
and it resulted in an awkward half hug.

Now that I finally learned to hug,
I have to relearn, like Joe Biden, that hugs
aren't always welcomed,
that I need to wait, momentarily,
for the woman to signal
how much of her personal space
she's willing to give up.

As Joe said, I get it.
But please forgive the awkwardness
while I adjust.

Wayne Scheer is an old codger trying to stay relevant. He has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Nets. He's published numerous stories, poems and essays in print and online, including Revealing Moments, a collection of flash stories. His short story, “Zen and the Art of House Painting” has been made into a short film.