Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Dear guy about 16 years old who I saw in On The Border tonight during my lunch break who sure seems like an affectionate person,

You sure seem like an affectionate person. Not much fear of human touch going on in your world, is there? When you walked up to the table of the couple who apparently are friends of your parents, you didn't mind walking over to both of them and putting your arms around them. When you finished with them you took your place beside your dad while your mom caught up on the latest gossip. You reached up and squeezed your dad's shoulder, like you were about to tell him something. But you didn't tell him anything. You then placed your arm over his shoulder and just stood there.

Then your two friends saw you and came over, the guy and the girl. I'm too old to say she was hot, so I'll just say that I bet you thought she was hot. You gave her a bear hug. Without skipping a beat you then gave your guy friend a bear hug. After a little conversation they left and by that time your mom was about finished with her conversation, then you all left-- one arm around your dad, one around your mom.

It didn't seem like any of those people you touched tonight were dying. Because that would be understandable. Are you dying? I'm being rude here, I know, but I'm fascinated by this. It didn't seem like you were dying either. You look athletic, healthy. They way you treat those you love suggests someone is about do die, but I'm just not seeing it.

What's funny about this whole thing is that you didn't strike me as particularly extroverted. Extroverted people like physical touch. You actually seemed kind of shy.

You also didn't seem "special," if you know what I mean. That also sounds rude and I beg your forgiveness for my being crass, but one of the most special things about "special" people is how affectionate they are.

Truth be told, I used to be kind of like you. Maybe that was why I had to hold back tears watching you tonight. Maybe I was watching the 16 year old me and realizing what I have lost.

I hope you don't lose it, but let me warn you... you lose it slowly. Or, at least, I did. Some of the people you love will send you signals that they are uncomfortable with how you are. You will start to recognize other people, strange people, kind of, well, creepy people, who are the same way as you are but without the heart of gold you have and, well, out of fear of being identified with those people, you will slowly withdraw your hugs.

What was once a spontaneous, genuine display of affection becomes calculated, paced, placed in socially acceptable time frames-- at the beginning of a greeting and at the end, and even then, only if there will be a known time lapse between this time you see your friends and the next time. It gets very confusing, but you realize this is how the world wants you. It's ok for them to hear Jesus' and Paul's wonderful words of life about love, but your kind of love makes many people uncomfortable.

But I hope you find a way to remain the same as you change into the person you will be tomorrow, next year, at your ten year reunion.

It was nice talking to you guy about 16 years old who I saw in On The Border tonight during my lunch break who sure seems like an affectionate person. I think you have a lot to teach me. I'd like to write to you in the future about other things. Like my parents and my sister and certain friends that I have. I think you can teach me a lot. If you don't mind, I'm going to let some friends of mine eavesdrop. They're good people. You'd love them, I know you would.

Oh, and thanks. You made my day.

Craig Nash.

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