One of my friends is out of town and I am tending her kitties for a week. Two are outside cats and one is a three legged tortoise shell cat--she lost her leg after being hit by a car--and is now an inside cat. I have only seen her a few times as she is very shy and afraid of strangers. (Not that I'm strange, mind you.)
Today I found her under the love seat in the family room. I lay on the floor and reached as far as I could. I could just barely touch her. I scratched her under her chin and behind her ears. Pretty soon she began to purr and we were there for a long time--me scratching, her purring. I tried to coax her out. "Come out, MomaCat," I said and every time she said, "purr-meow--purr." We had a fifteen minute conversation but she wouldn't budge.
Tonight I can't get her out of my mind. She had fifteen minutes of human contact today. What would I be like if I only had fifteen minutes of human contact?
I recently read a Young Adult book called Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey. It made me realize that touch is so important. That having someone to talk to is important, having someone listen to you is improtant.
Tonight we sat on the lawn swings with neighbors. I had made an impossible rhubarb pie--it's a very old Bisquick recipe--no crust--and I served it with ice cream. When the neighbors went home one of them shook my hand, and told me thank you. I thought that was sweet.
Some of my friends are huggers. Some are not. Some are good with words of love. Some love me just as much but don't express it. I have one friend who says it all, "Lynne Snyder, I love you." It makes me feel good. If I were feeling like the worst crumb-bum in the world I could find Faye and she'd soon have me feeling pretty good--maybe even terrific.
How often do we hesitate before saying loving words? How often do we give a hug and how often do we hold back? I think we need a certain amount of strokes. I'm not sure I would want to scratch you behind the ears but I can say something nice and tell you how wonderful you are. Maybe I could hold your hand for five seconds and you'd know I loved you.
I am on the last few cards of a one hundred card box. It's taken me quite a while to get through it. There are a bunch of cards that never got written. It would have taken me fifteen minutes to tell someone they were appreciated, to tell them I loved them or that I think they are terrific.
Skin hunger and compliment hunger and tell-me-I-make-a-difference-in-your-life hunger are real.
Let's put an end to all these hungers. You could even bake an impossible rhubarb pie and share it with the neighbors. One of them might even shake your hand.