"Come sit by me," he said as he moved closer to the inside of his half of the booth. We sat close to one another, slouch
ing in the seat so our legs could stretch out and rest on the now unoccupied seat across from us. We whispered and laughed together until we remembered that the Pizza Hut
employees wanted to close up. A generous tip was left on the table as we departed the restaurant and headed back to town.
We stopped off to pick up my car. He parked one spot over from my Saturn. Idle conversation filled the station wagon. The delayed goodbye was a part of our routine. Finally, the time arrived and I gathered my things into my lap.
"Would it be okay, do you think, for me to hug you?" he asked.
This was big.
In the months that we’d been dating, he had not so much as held my hand. He valued me too much to rush things in any area.
"Okay." In a somewhat awkward fashion that is involved in a first such as this, he reached out from his seat to embrace me. Hugs in cars rarely work well, though, so it wasn’t long before he exited the vehicle and met me on my side. He wrapped his arms around me like they just belonged there and drew me to him. I rested my cheek on his shoulder just beneath his chin.
We hugged for more than two hours.
Just hugged. Not weak, half-hearted hugs. Not passionate, lustful hugs. Strong, affectionate, and tender hugs. He cupped the back of my head in his hand and held me close to his heart. In the cool night air, I stood barefooted in the parking lot with a most special man as time sped up.
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