I could tell it was awkward giving everyone hugs because I made all of them blush – guys and girls alike. I had formed bonds with these students and they have all influenced my opinion of Japan. So many cultural lines were crossed through a gesture that I find normally fitting for farewell.
It doesn’t even matter if I’ll see you later tonight, a hug feels good. I can’t begin to describe how many things a hug means to me. Let’s just say that depending on the type of hug, it can be more intimate than a kiss. A hug says, “Welcome into my personal space – we can share.” The body contact is maximized to spread warmth, and we physically transmit feelings of gratitude, sadness, or best wishes. It could say “I’ll miss you” or “I love you” or “I’ll never forget you” within that short-lived tight squeeze. I think my days are brighter when it starts with a hug. This will be tested with another social experiment (I can already hear the hippie names you come up for me now).
This was a sad day for Japan, but I doubt they skipped a beat. I had missed my home and it was my presence needed to be spread more evenly. I needed to leave even if I didn’t want to. There were lonely nights when I wondered how everyone was passing each day. I predicted what they would say when I returned. I imagined what they were wondering what I would be doing to pass the day. My odd sense of thinking in recursion sometimes hurt my head because I’d fill in the whole three panel comic with pictures of pictures (that made more sense in my head).
This entire trip was a real life example of that heart aching question: “Will I be missed?”
When I had a girlfriend, my eyes welted whenever I thought of her cold hand without mine holding it. I felt powerless with her, yet I could conquer the world at the same time. There was nothing about her that I could control, but I felt safe letting my heart go. It was a connection that I was certain, but could never satisfyingly prove. If I were still with her, I think she would miss me. I think I would miss her.
I’ve given parenting much thought just because I try to plan everything in my life. I’m sure I could fill a book with my observations and conclusions, but an analogy comes to mind that reminds me of my current position as a son. Let’s say I’m obsessed with cars and call them my girlfriends, mistresses, and wives. Hypothetically, I set a project to build my own car and make it into my hunny-wagon. Let’s say it takes me 4 years to complete and I document it every step of the way with photo albums and over-sized hats. One day while I’m taking the hunny-wagon out for a spin, I get into an accident and it’s completely totaled. I step out of the wreckage without a scratch, but I watch my 4 years of hard work towed away by a dump truck. Imagine the heartbreak seeing the time and pure manly love that went into this gorgeous vessel that just disappeared in a flash.
21 years where something could have gone wrong with my engine, my brake lining, oil changes, suspension or whatever, but there was always these mechanics worrying about it and trying to fix it. I had started off priceless, yet I will always accumulate in value. My time with them should bring us closer, not drift us away. I am a “good kid” because I always think about this analogy. First and foremost, I want to succeed in whatever definition I place for “success”. And second, I want to make my parents proud and give them the reward for putting up with me for so long. How much frustration have I caused them? How much do I owe them? They will say I owe them nothing, but I think I will pay it back by teaching my children and showing them I figured out one of the most important puzzles. (I’ll probably buy my dad a car and my mom some diamonds too.)
I am a life-long project. My parents and brother have raised me and watched me discover myself into some sense of maturity or understanding of the vast world before me. They’ve carefully planned everything one step ahead of me. Whenever I thought about lying to them, they knew and they already had the next level of the tree filled. It was so calculated, but I’m sure they would just say they made it up as they went along. In my eyes, these were not responses or reactions to my decisions, but rather choices of actions based on a solvable game. How could they know? Why were they always right? Every step of the way, they have been there with advice that would never corrupt me or see to my doom. Although I may not see all of the angles they do, in the end, it never steered me in the wrong direction. “You’ll understand when you get older” actually means something now – damn. I am old enough to make my own decisions, but there will be no point in my life where I don’t consider their precautions – after all, they love me, and I love them.
~See Lemons Love Family and Friends