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A hug is a hug is a…

Those silent pats on the stomach summarily followed by a shy handshake (rather, hand-graze)

A hug is a hug is a…

Hugs; those silent pats on the stomach summarily followed by a shy handshake (rather, hand-graze), exchanged between men that once leaned in wholeheartedly to wrap their person around the other, but years have lazed their friendships. Or, perhaps, at that age such a hug is the most efficient way to ascertain the level of their friends’ well being — simply an excuse to gauge the change in girth of abdominal fat since the last meeting. But how explain away these avuncular habits in young men? (Uncles)

Hugs; one man, one woman, juxtaposed as such to resemble a pair of cards standing side by side, facing the same way. The orientation of their bodies countenancing the view ahead, embarrassed smiles on both sets of lips, two confused arms crisscrossing from behind their backs nervously trying not to make contact. A fraction of a moment shared, the fear of the arousal of intimacy, a murmur of a goodbye suggested, the spinning out of both parties, and the end of the hug. (A study in the excruciating side-hugs of Lahore)

Hugs; the drooping of the eyes, the sulking of the neck, the twist of the back as an offering — the resting of an old, wrinkled, blue-veined matriarchal hand, cold and lifeless, on the dorsal resting platter — the straightening of the spine, the stiffening of the neck, the lifting of the eyes. Repeat. (Funerals)

Hugs; the strong embrace, the tightening of the jaw, the strain on the eyes, the countless tears held back. One moment of silence to convey the meanings of suggestive words spoken so often, one moment of nervous heat to relive the furtive glances missed. One moment for a friend gone, one moment for an eternity lost. (Allama Iqbal Airport)

Hugs; the eyes go numb, the cheeks redden ever so slightly, while the nose awkwardly rests in its place devoid of sensation as she leans in, leading with a tilting face. The soft vellus hairs on her face submit to the harsh passions of the beard-hairs that line his jaw, when their two cheeks meet. Her lips are red, though the fact of the artificiality of their colour is lost on the huggers, while his lips are ignorant and unmoving. From him comes the effusion of a borrowed bottle of scent, from her the unexpected discharge of nicotine-laden breath. Both breathe in gusts of desire, both feel the need for more, but alas they break their hug suddenly and shyly walk away. A moment longer and others would have noticed. (Love in the time of the Sharia)

Hugs; the father now looks up, and the son looks down. The father’s hands for so long chained to the hips now rise, and the son looks down. The father’s chin for so long held high now descends, and the son looks down. The father’s eyes for so long unforgiving, now look up penitent, and the son looks down. The father’s arms for so long indifferent, now encircle the broad chest before them, and the son looks down. (Grief)

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