I am reminded now of a night in the college dormitories, where I was suffering from a high fever. I was angry, sputtering. Getting in the bath because I could not get warm. I tossed in our bunk bed as my roommate CJ was studying. It’s all such a dream now, I remember moaning. I remember slipping in and out of sleep, never aware of reality. I woke to see CJ watching my pathetic misery. He asked me if it was okay if he prayed. He was Russian Orthodox. I might have feebly nodded my head yes, that’s fine. He laid his hand on my head and started his prayer. I slept the rest of the night through, my fever broken in the morning.
I am also reminded of the migraines I had as a child. At some point, I was on a lake with friends and their parents when the pain struck. I had to lie down and occasionally vomited into the lake. They took us back, we went to our cabin and I got into bed. A friend’s dad came in and told me his daughter get migraines. He learned that there are pressure points on the feet to relieve head pain. He asked me if it was okay to massage my feet. I grumbled out a yes. I fell asleep and when I woke up the pain was gone. I even had my first kiss that night.
I think there is something to say about occasional vulnerability and a bond formed in tenderness.