The larger solitude to which each of us is ineluctably fated—Wallace’s “skull-sized kingdom“—can sometimes come to feel very like a prison. The difficulty of escape at such times is very, very great; there’s such a vast distance between one soul and another. It’s not guaranteed that a hug will always pierce that veil of solitude, but then again, for some, sometimes, it might.
A hug, then, may even be a reminder that there is more to us than whatever bullshit societal transaction or business nonsense or idiotic role-playing is being forced on us in any given moment. A hug may in fact be a (literally) palpable indicator that we are not alone in the universe. For there is one other at least, right now in this moment, real, warm, breathing like oneself, willing, like oneself, alive, like oneself. Against all the world’s cold calculations, a heart to beat, so improbably, against one’s own.