She turned to me, and I could see she had tears in her eyes. "Can I hug you?"
Her mother looked alarmed, as did the grandmother.
"It's OK," I assured them. "I could really use a hug."
The girl ran around the table and flew into my arms, wrapped herself around me monkey style. I held her tight. She felt immediately familiar to me in a way I can never explain.
I knew her too. I absolutely, positively knew her.
"You've held me before," she said.
"I think I have," I told her. "A long time ago."
"But not for long," she said.
My throat was so tight by then that I couldn't talk, so I just nodded.
"I'm sorry I couldn't be your little girl," she said.
She pressed her face against my shoulder and I held her that way for what was both just a few seconds, and a lifetime.
Her mother hurried around the table and peeled her off me.
"I don't know what's gotten into her," she said.
"She could sense I needed a hug," I said.
But it was more than a hug. It was more like a visit.
I can't really explain it any other way. But I tried.
Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinful...@gmail.com.