It started way back when, we were both skittish, best friends in an all girls school. In our fierce pretense, I'm-tougher-than-that denial, we pretended that we would never want to be hugged for comfort. We were stronger, no pale girlie stuff. We didn't need each other to tell us how smart we were, how pretty. We were scornful, prickly, and defensive.

By now, I am lying when I confess an unease to being hugged. Often I will call her up and talk. I spout things I never meant to tell, jabber on about inconsequential happenings just to have some human contact; times when all i need is a hug, and there's noone nearby to give it.

She is still the bundle of nerves she was back then: shying away from touch, denying something she needs. I would never tell her this truth I see, because that would be to risk losing her. Antsy, and private nerves askitter, she'd fade out of my life in that obscure way she has. Now you see her now you dont.

We do not hug. I do not touch her other than to poke her playfully in her side. If, god forbid, she lost someone/thing she loved, I wouldn't know how to comfort her. I wouldn't be able to hug her through all her barriers, across her denial.

I would never be able to admit to it myself, have a hard time thinking that I could turn to a friend and say, in response to a caring offer of help: I just need a hug. However true it may be. Maybe she has come to this stage too, and just has the words stuck behind her smile.

Why are we scared to admit that all we want is human contact? I hated being touched, because I so craved it. I wanted an acceptance. If I couldn't get it on an intellectual level did physical acceptance then seem cheap? No. It was that the casual touch gives me that much more to worry about. I was scared of it, fearing I would set off a scent, radiating a neediness I wanted hidden. Why is it so hard to admit to weakness?