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Touch 6 – my first boyfriend

This is ‘Touch 6’ from the hug package.

The hug package is an initiative of Emke Idema. In order to fill her own embrace gap, she is touching in depth from her memory. By remembering them as vividly as possible, she was able to relive them. With a selection from her collection she put together the embrace package. You can order that package and send it to someone who will give you a hug.

The recipient receives a touch story in his or her mailbox for nine days. To listen, to read and with a drawing by visual artist Ank Daamen included. The package is an intimate ritual with which you just put your arm around someone.

Touch 6 – My first boyfriend – tipping point in my embrace history

This is Touch Six from the Embrace Package. It’s about my first boyfriend and is a tipping point in my hugging history.

The sidewalk in front of my dorm room has never been better. I’m saying goodbye to Samuel, who’s becoming my first boyfriend. We’ve already met a couple of times. I dared to kiss him because I was sure I didn’t want to be with him forever. Samuel is tall, slim, and a bit crooked from the uncertainty of his adolescence, which is only just behind him.

We wandered through town this evening. Over the Fish Market, where the market was already gone, along the dense Perry Sport, the dense V&D, the dense jeweler and along the pubs where people were still having drinks on terraces. Twilight has fallen and the heat of the day has disappeared from the sky. I have goose bumps. We have decided that I will go to my room and he will go to his. Being together too much doesn’t feel right yet.

“Well, see you next time, then.

“Yeah, see you next time.

On the sidewalk in front of my house, we grab each other. We’re used to having a conversation, making jokes, challenging each other, but not touching each other. It’s getting awkward, we don’t have the routine of lovers yet.

The times before we tongue kissed goodbye, especially because I thought it was supposed to be like this. But now we don’t. I put my arms around Samuel and feel his warm back under the crackling shirt. It feels grown-up to touch a body in a shirt affectionately. I put my head against his shoulder. We don’t say anything.

He’s breathing lightly. He smells nice. The wind blows through my hair and through my sweater. His arms form warm stripes on my back. We’ll stand like this for a while. He’s not about to loosen up. Neither am I. It’s getting less and less goodbye what we’re doing. We hold each other and we stand. Nothing else. We’re slowly becoming one being, with each breath our bodies align a little more. We fit exactly. It looks fucking good. Would he be okay with standing for a little while longer? He shifts his arms a little, so the hug feels all new again. Time is something for other people. Samuel absorbs everything that’s annoying in the world. I don’t think anything.

Judging by the church bells, we’re three quarters of an hour on the sidewalk. We’re loosening up almost simultaneously. It’s like I slept and woke up very fit. His eyes are dull and loving.

Never before has anyone given themselves so completely to me. Only my mother, when I was little. But I can hardly remember that. Touch has always been ritual, or accidental. Other bodies were fleeting. This embrace is a turning point: I suddenly understand that there are people to lean against in life. From now on there is a world of possibilities open to me.

This was Touch Six. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about a less pleasant touch, which did make a big impression. I thought it shouldn’t be missing. See you tomorrow.

Picture: Ank Daamen

Buy your hug package here

door Emke Idema


met dank aan: Gemeente Amsterdam West