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  You could have a big dipper   

The Long Hug Goodbye by Justin Michael Terry

This hug has gone on for too long. I need to pull away, but she still has that "friends forever" firmness and she's not loosening. This is never going to work. I'm not going to write or call as much as I should, and honestly, I won't want to. Break ups are supposed to be the end. That's why the word break is in it. It's a severance, it's final. If we were meant to be connected still it would be called a "bend up" or a "twist up" or something and I can't believe it, but we are still hugging!


People are starting to stare. I feel them staring. This coffee shop was abuzz with people going about their business and now I get the sense they have all stopped to watch and count the minutes with me. Can they see my discomfort? Shouldn't that guy on his computer be clacking away at the keys or the espresso machine be hissing, or an Adele song be on or something why is there no sound in this coffee shop!?


Yup. It's still happening. It's gone from the "cross arm" to the "backpack strap." In my opinion a slightly more intimate hug type, and wildly inappropriate for this deep into a goodbye. This is baggage. This is what baggage is. I'm going to hang onto this feeling for the rest of my days. Every intimate moment I share with another woman, every will always feel like a double hug... I'm cursed to experience double hugs forever now because she won't let go. This is it, Jesse, prepare yourself for crippling psychological immaturity, because you now suffer from stage five phantom ex-gf-hug syndrome.


Maybe if I slip an arm free, I could end this. I wish I knew Brazilian jiujitsu. God, how many times have I said that? I honestly feel that would solve most of my problems. I'd be so confident. She has to feel that I'm not hugging back. I've been limp for ages. If she eased back on the constriction for a second, I would slide out and onto the floor like a noodle. Aw man, that would be so great. Freedom. Sweet noodle freedom.


Did I just hear her sniffle? Aw Jesus, are we going to get back together? I have to hug back now; those are the rules. Sniffles get squeezes. Fuck. Maybe she will read it as a firm final goodbye. She won't, Jesse, you idiot. All you've done is seal your fate. She just tightened which seems implausible, where does she keep this infinite strength?


She's gone from "backpack strap" to "seat-belt w/ fingers on back of neck" the final stage of intimate hug types. Oh, and she's crying. I hear her crying through my down jacket...there's only one way to end this... I could kill her, or myself, no, that's stupid. You’re too kind, don’t know any deadly martial arts, and a complete and total coward. There's only one real way to end this… We're getting back together.


Justin (he/him) drinks coffee, booze, listens to YouTube videos of rain, and struggles to put a few decent words together before the end of each day. He collaborates with his brilliant and poetic friends as often as he can, has been published very little, and sports a damn fine mustache. @NotQuiteWrite1 on Twitter.

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