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Monday, February 21, 2011

Can't Touch This!

When driving around listening to the radio on those country back roads or going out to my home, Joanie and I would always sing along to the radio. When MC Hammer's song "Can't Touch This." came on, we would groove to it proudly. I called it Joanie's song. To say my best friend didn't like to be touch would be putting it simply. She hated to be touch by anyone, expect her own dad who was so sweet and she adored him. People teased her since she was known for saying "Don't touch me!" with her hand up. I was very used to her phobia, I knew how to keep my own space just the same. When we were leaders at church for the Jr. High girls, on those Wednesday nights. We came across the occasional crying young girl. Moments like those Joanie would scramble around to find me with such panic. I remembered one night Joanie was calling down the church hallway saying "DEBBY! Where's DEBBY? Have you seen DEBBY!" I was alarmed at first but as I reached her, she pushed me into the classroom of the crying young girl, I realized suddenly this crying girl needed a hug and some comfort. I just held her until she was done crying and gave her my long sleeve. When she felt better she rejoined the rest of the other girls. I never found out why she was crying because I think I already knew. Young girls often feel such responsibility and loneliness all at the same time.  Joanie asked me "WHY was she crying like THAT! what was wrong?" I shook my head because I didn't know. I told Joanie later that night "You can't run away when someone is crying! You need to give them a hug at least. Young girls cry all the time for no real reason and it's about just being there for them!" Joanie rolled her eyes "I NEVER cried growing up and I won't cry now!" I watched my best friend for a moment, I knew why she didn't cry. I knew the darkness of her childhood that crying was weakness in her own eyes. I nodded sadly thinking how many more years will she go before she broke down to really cry? As far as I ever knew she never did cry, even the saddest movies we watched she cynically justified it as being "Just a movie." Whenever she and I were around a crying person, Joanie would grab me by the shoulder to push me in front of her so she didn't get touched. I could handle any hysterical person. In the moments I would burst out into my own tears, Joanie would sigh loudly waiting for me to stop. I would end up smiling at her saying "I need a hug!" then I would giggle as she sprung to life running away from me! She was funny to watch as she darted away from people trying to hug her. If she got caught she would squirm like a fish in a net and become frustrated that people will not leave just her alone. She would yell out inside my car many times saying "STOP TOUCHING ME PEOPLE!" I would chuckle then reply "You need to at least TRY to get over this fear or at least learn some short cuts, people just think you are so huggable!" Joanie looked back at me completely annoyed "WE are friends and I NEVER touch you! NOT even the other night when you were blubbering!" I laughed realizing I didn't care nor did I take it personal because I knew her so well. "Not everyone understands why you can't to be touched." Joanie DID tried to work on her no touching rule. Our other friend Sara was always throwing herself onto us, she wanted us to catch her falling or she leaned on us for no reason. When Sara realized Joanie never touched her back then she began throwing herself onto Joanie even more. Joanie would step out of the way giggling while Sara fell to the ground. Sara was surprised one day when this happened so Sara called Joanie MC Hammer for awhile. One afternoon Three of us danced to "Can't Touch This" while pretending to almost touch Joanie just as she ducked away from us so fast! Joanie simply liked keeping to her own groove.

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