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Hugs do Matter!

José Luís Peixoto is a Portuguese #writer I enjoy reading and whose books are translated and available all over Europe (look for him next time you go to the bookshop). In one of his articles for a #Portuguese Magazine he talks about 'hugs', and tries to distinguish the real ones from the fake and empty ones.

According to Peixoto, a brief hug accompanied by a pat on the back is not a real hug; the word 'hugs' in the end of an email is often meaningless; and those who during public events offer 'Free hugs!' though well-intentioned misrepresent the real hug - hugs don't create human connections, human connections create hugs!

I couldn't agree more! It really takes more than joining two strange people in a hug to create the sense of fulfilment, joy, and indeed the overwhelming feeling of support that we get when we know that someone does care about us. Only a real hug from somebody we love can give us something quite like this.

For José Luís Peixoto, an example of a real hug is one he got from his father when he was only a child. He still remembers that hug, although he was only nine or ten years old. He (really) hugged his father in the kitchen of his parents' house. It was very early in the morning because his father would do what was then a long journey to Lisbon's district hospital. He had to undergo surgery and was afraid of it. During the hug his father cried, as at that moment he realised he might never see his boy again...

The old light bulb over their heads created a yellow gloomy #atmosphere. The cheap aftershave that someone had given his father for Christmas is still recognisable (and clearly 'smelled') even today when Peixoto recollects these moments. His father's arms tight around him while Peixoto's head was on his father's belly. The kitchen, a place where the family dined and talked about everything and nothing was then a silent place filled with anxiety.

Fortunately, the surgery went well! Peixoto could only tell it happened because it left a thick purple scar on his father, only visible when they all went to the #beach. Nine years passed without Peixoto thinking about goodbyes...

Peixoto ends his article by clearly stating that "Hugs do matter!" For fifteen years he has been writing about this special hug (and fondly remembering it too).

What about you? Have you given a special hug to someone?

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