Of all the love languages, how I give and receive love, I score lowest on physical touch.

Well, I take that back.  I think I probably score lower on acts of service because I’m lazy.  But I think I was feeling particularly giving the day I took the test, so physical touch came in last.

And rightfully so.  I am NOT a hugger.  I’m not a toucher.  I don’t feel more loved the longer you hug me.  I don’t feel neglected if you don’t.  I had a roommate once, whom I love dearly, but she is a physical touch person.  She drew life from just sitting close on the couch.  Me?  That makes me feel nervous and like I’m going to slither out of my skin.

My college roomie and bfry Candace and I do not hug.  We had lived together for YEARS, literally YEARS, before we hugged.  It has to be extreme to make us hug.  A breakup.  A wedding.  A friendship recovered.  The “Hot Donut” sign on at Krispy Kreme.  These kinds of things.

Because she, nor I, speak the language of THE CLOSER YOU ARE THE DEEPER YOU LOVE.  [We operate more in the vein of “the funnier you are, the more I love you”.  But we don’t say “I love you” either.  We have a mildly dysfunctional friendship.]

But as for me- Words of affirmation?  Bring it on.  Gifts?  Oh yes sir.  Quality time?  I mean, if you’ve got it, I’ll take it.  Wanna do something nice for me?  Yep, I’ll probably let you.

Just don’t touch me.

But after only 48 hours at home, something has changed.  Or something has been there all along.

Now that I’m home, I can’t hug my friends enough.  I sit by a friend and I want to be touching her hand.  I want to hug my friends and not let go.  I rest my hand on a friend’s knee, just because I can.  I want to hold Haley’s baby right up against my chest until our breaths are in sync.  When I feel arms wrap around me, my eyes fill with tears. I walk through a room of my friends and touch every shoulder, my hands lingering like they are drawing something life-giving from each person.

I just love to feel them beside me.  Just to know, with certainty, that they are there.

I stood at the top of the stairs last night and cried in my Daddy’s arms.  I have so missed the feel of folding into my Dad’s chest.  The tight hugs of my Mom.  The softness of a love that is unwavering, expressed through close proximity.

Nashville is good to me.  Don’t get me wrong.  But Nashville doesn’t hold me.  Nashville doesn’t sit too close.  Nashville doesn’t get in my business or my personal space.  Nashville doesn’t let me lean in without purpose.

Nashville and I are still shaking hands.  Marietta and I are sappy long huggers.

I came home this weekend for a wedding that I did not want to miss.  And I’m glad I did.

But maybe this was too soon.  Maybe my heart still breaks too much.  Maybe my Marietta life still feels so right.

I have really missed the feel of home. The literal hold-my-hand-because-you- know-me-and-love-me feel of home.

And I don’t know how to leave it again.