Saturday, November 01, 2008

Sweetness on the Metro: Gimme Hug Edition

Saturdays I have a Japanese tutoring appointment, so I usually bike and ride up the Red Line to get to the tutor's neighborhood.

This morning I get out of the train and head straight to the elevator. There's a woman with a stroller behind me and she sounds like she's trying to get to the elevator before me, like she's worried we won't both fit. Not to worry, lady, I think, this elevator's wide enough for four strollers and two bikes.

I get in, turn around, and let the woman and her stroller in. Her daughter's in the stroller, making happy little questions. As the door closes, the little girl says, "Going down?"

"No, this time we're going up."

Sure enough, the elevator confirms the mother is right, saying "Going up."

Daughter: "Going up."

Mother: "That's right."

A little time passes, and the elevator comes to a halt. Daughter says "Going up."

I go through the gate first, followed shortly by the woman and the stroller kid. I go to the next elevator, like a good biker. The woman and her kid come aboard as well. Again I sense an urgency from the woman, drawing in her breath a little loudly as I turn my bike around before letting her in.

The kid says, "Going up." And then the kid says, "Go on a bus...?"

Mother: "No, we're not taking a bus this time."

The kid turns to me and says "Itzabig bike!"

I say "Yes, it is."

I smile at the girl. She looks at me, my bike, me again. She smiles. Then she says, "Gimme hug!" and spreads her arms wide.

My heart melts through my body and onto the red elevator floor.

I don't hug her, though. I'm a big, scary guy with a helmet on and a bike to keep upright. And it's a stranger's child.

The girl says again, more insistently, "Gimme hug!"

The mother says, "She does this to everyone." She looked embarrassed. I still didn't do anything.

The girl says, "Gimme hug?"

The mother: "She's so affectionate." I agree, and add that she is inordinately cute.

The elevator stops and we go separate ways.

I wish I could explain to the girl that I certainly would hug her if we lived in a world where a man could simply show affection to an adorable child that he doesn't know without it being weird. I wish I could tell her that she shouldn't stop offering hugs to people, but maybe she could be a little more selective; just talking to her is not a high-enough criteria in the long run. But mostly I wish I could be that innocent and ask random people for hugs in the elevator of the Metro. That girl lives in a world of love, while I live in a world where people honk and yell at me every day (today included).


lacochran said...

That was a hug of a post. Thanks!

Miss Scorpio said...

You just made my heart melt.

avocadoinparadise said...

How nice! I love to get little kids to smile but have never been asked for a hug. You must be special!

aak said...

Thanks! I felt special.

I used to have a friend who used to say that getting a smile from a little boy or girl is a gift that lasts all day with you. Definitely true.