Free Hugs

Sometimes all you need is a hug...


1. Free Hugs

    Once upon a time there was an ordinary girl who lived all alone in a downtown apartment in London. She wasn’t rich, famous, or troubled. She was just alone. She wasn’t horribly ugly, or breathtakingly beautiful. She had her flaws that she learned to love, such as her thin lipped smile, pale skin, and curly hair. These were things she had let bring herself down before, but now she learned that she needed to accept the way she looked because she was made that way for a reason. As they say, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. 
This girl’s name was Isabelle Adams. She worked as a private photographer and was paid just enough to get the rent paid and food on the table. She was 19 years old, and was incredibly smart for her young age. Although her parents had insisted she go to college and pursue a safer career, she explained at her 18th birthday her decision was to do photography. She had already been taking college night-school lessons on photography and soon had her own apartment. Isabelle Adam’s life wasn’t wonderful, yet it wasn’t horrible. It was bittersweet. 
Isabelle was truly alone in this world. Her parents died six months after she left for her apartment. She fell into depression soon. Life seemed to lose meaning. She was an only child born from parents who were both only children themselves, and their parents had died as well. It seemed to be a long running curse of her family. Everyone had been an only child for as long as she could remember. So when her parents died, Isabelle was all alone in the world. She received inheritance that was stowed away in her bank account in case she fell on hard times, and then life seemed to remain odd. She still waved hello to the old lady next door, tending to her tulips. She still went to the coffee shop every morning at 7 a.m. to get her caramel macchiato. She still photographed weddings and parties every weekend and sometimes weekdays. Even though everything was the same Isabelle’s life was just bland, like a chunk of pure dark chocolate: bitter and without sweetness. 
Isabelle’s depression went on until a rainy day in April, while she stood outside her balcony, pondering whether or not she should jump. She propped one foot on the railing, preparing to stand fully on the ledge, when a voice startled her. She looked to the right, and on the balcony of an apartment next door to her she had before thought vacant, stood a boy her age. He was beautiful.  He looked at her with concern, then Isabelle asked him to repeat what he had just said. 
“I said, ‘Why jump when you’ve got so much to live for?’” he said, the same look of concern on his face. Isabelle removed her foot from the wet railing.
“I don’t have much to live for anymore. I’m just so alone. It’s like no one has touched me in days. My shoulders’ are cold and everyone in my family no longer breathes, so why should I breathe as well?” Isabelle said this using all her strength to keep the tears away. The boy looked at her with sympathy. 
“Come with me, to my place. I’m new, and maybe we could hang out.” he blew his dark brown locks out of his face and Isabelle nodded. She walked back into her apartment and pulled her curly jet-black hair out of its messy bun it had been in. Slipping on her hoodie, she exited her apartment and greeted the boy at the door. He introduced himself as James Fairview, and she introduced herself as well. The couple sat and talked until they were tired to continue. Isabelle got up with a polite yawn and when she reached the door, James turned her around and pulled her into a hug. 
You see, Isabelle was so lonely and that hug opened her world. Everything seemed happier and life became less sad. Isabelle was different than most girls. While some may love passionate kisses in the rain, it was moments when someone hugged her that gave her a feeling of protection and a feeling that she was cared for. 
James and Isabelle’s relationship blossomed into a beautiful romance by the time 6 months had gone by. Although Isabelle enjoyed the kisses before parting ways, the romantic talks on the phone, and the nights she became intimate with James, it was the times right before they went to sleep or any other time, when he pulled her into a comforting hug, that Isabelle loved the most. She loved how he wrapped his arms around her tightly as if protecting her and loved how her head fit into the crook of his neck perfectly. James and Isabelle loved each other with all of their hearts. 
Then James received a promotion from his job. He was to move to America and work at an office there. James didn’t know how long the stay would last, but he didn’t know when he would get to come back. Isabelle told him that a long-distance relationship like this would be difficult, and they called off the relationship after 6 months and 13 days of being together. The feeling was mutual. James didn’t know if he could handle long-distance and Isabelle felt the same. They shared one last hug at the airport. It was a hug Isabelle wished could last forever. 
Another 6 months went by and no word was heard from James. Isabelle longed for a chance to feel his arms around her once more. She wished for someone to hug her. Then she had an idea. She pulled out a stick and poster board. She then glued the two together and scrawled a message on the board with marker: “FREE HUGS”. She smiled at her sign and went out into the middle of a square. People rushed passed her, ignoring her plea on the sign. Two hours went by, and five children who managed to escape their mothers hugged Isabelle. Even though each of those hugs was wonderful, they weren’t the same as James’ hugs. 
She stood at the square and was ready to give up when-
“I could tell you enjoyed hugging me, Isabelle.”  A familiar voice called out. Like magic, the crowd parted to reveal James standing with a smile. Instead of pulled each other into a passionate kiss, James ran up to her and gave her a hug. And there, in the middle of the square, was where they stood hugging each other. 
Because sometimes it is the moment when you’re wrapped around someone who loves you when we truly feel safe from our fears. We feel like the arms wrapped around us can protect us from anything. Sometimes all we need, on our worst days, is a free hug. 


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