Earning stories …
Today I earned the story of a recovering alcoholic, whose name I shall keep anonymous. A father of 2, who kicked a prescription pill habit only to fall into the hole that lies at the bottom of a bottle. Going through a divorce, not able to see his kids, and stuck in the shelter system where he’s been moved along; beaten up physically and beaten down emotionally, but still fighting hard. He goes to AA meetings; he takes LONG walks to try to tire out his body and occupy his mind. He thinks. Mostly about how things went wrong. And he’s not blaming anyone for his troubles; he owns that shit like a champ.
I earned this story yesterday; though I didn’t know it at the time. Dezz and I had done some afternoon busking at King/Simcoe and apparently this guy heard us and it really helped to brighten his day. He was too shy to approach at the time, and wouldn’t have approached me today either, but I asked him for a light as he went by; and he ended up sitting down and chatting with me for over an hour.
His story moved me and I was impelled to force several hugs upon him in my usual style: leap in with arms stretched and wrap them around the unsuspecting huggee and wait for them to give me the obligatory double pat before telling them that I’m going to hold on until it feels uncomfortable; then keep holding on. I do this to everyone who really needs a hug and is clearly not used to getting them. I’m a serial hugger.
I read somewhere once that it takes a minimum of 30 seconds of contact for oxytocin to be released, and I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that there comes a moment where the hug no longer feels weird, but is the most awesome thing in the world. It often brings me (and sometimes the huggee) to tears, which happened a couple of times today.
I treasure the stories of all the people that stop to talk to me. Each one, it seems to me, is like a mistreated book; it’s spine broken, pages dog-eared worn, and marred with scrawled writing in the margins, it’s cover torn or missing completely. It’s original form is lost forever, but it’s original beauty remains; and is perhaps even increased by the struggle it’s had to go through.
And I for one hope this particular story has a happy ending. You go RecoveringAlcoholicDad; so in need of hugs and so awkward about receiving them. I’m pulling for you