Friday, February 23, 2007

An inappropriate friendship?

I’ve been going through Bevin’s discharge paper. Interested to learn just a little bit more about her “inappropriate” friendship with a girl at her group home. Bevin has always been one to form friendships--her ability to do that has often left me meditating on the nature of friendship. But that’s another story.

Here’s what was “inappropriate” about her relationship with her most recent friend--according to her discharge papers. They were cuddling and, I take it, touching each other. Though who knows what that means. Given the structure of their lives, I suspect that it was mostly cuddling, holding--a head on a shoulder. . . . .

Now Bevin doesn’t have any ability to contemplate her life. So I’ve been thinking about what she knows about friendship, love. I’m not sure of the total range of her patterns for friendship, love. That’s how she lives her life--according to patterns. And my concern about this has a good deal to do with why I am bringing her to Seattle. I don’t know, can’t know, that much about the details of her life in Utah, the patterns of her existence there.

Here’s what i do when we’re together, my pattern of interaction. I cuddle with her. I hold her in my arms. I stroke her back, her hair, her hands. And I have this strong sense of how she takes to this touching. She opens herself. I know she hasn’t had much of such physical comfort in the pattern of her life. A person should have this. The luxury of touch from one who loves you.

I’ve often worried about her sexual vulnerability. To those men/boys in her environment who don’t understand, but could still hurt her. To those who do understand, and would still hurt her.

I hadn’t thought about a friendship such as the one i read between the lines in her discharge papers. How would she know this was “inappropriate”? Was it? In the world she was in, where did she find the touch that she longs for. How do we decide what “should” be?

I find myself with more sympathy, than judgment.

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