In mid-february I visited the Witcher at his place for a board game afternoon (I had a meeting with the White Queen and the leader of the institute scheduled for the evening). It was just the two of us and shortly after we had begun playing he started doing things like resting his hand on my leg or putting his arm around me whenever it was my turn.
At first I flinched a little, not sure if I should find this inappropriate considering our respective situations. After some turns I told him: “Should you be doing this while having a girlfriend?”
“Well, I can still hug you, can’t I?”
“Point taken”, I said and gave him a long hug.
Actually, this was what I had hoped for during all this time when we were apart. For him to have someone as well, so we can be equal to each other and finally be friends. If only the being friends part was as easy as it sounded.
His presence, especially when being alone with him, still made me feel restless and nervous, so by the end of my visit I was pacing his tiny flat, feeling strangely trapped, talking about a thousand little things just for the sake of talking. When I stopped for an instant, looking out of the window and babbering some nonsense, he calmly approached me from behind and put his arms around my waist.
To me, being hugged from behind has the same effect as the mother’s bite on a kitten’s neck: A comfortable unability to move, feeling calm and safe. I love it how he can wrap his arms around me, resting his chin on my collarbone so that we are cheek to cheek – his tall, slender body seems to be made for giving hugs.
Some minutes later I emerged onto the pavement, lost in thought, making my way to the institute.
My hands were looking embarassingly bad at that time, because of a hereditary skin disease (fortunately only affecting my hands), and even though I could mostly control myself during the day, every moring I awoke bleeding, with my wounds scratched open. I told him about it and how I had problems restraining my hands during the sleep because I was an escape artist at night, and he proposed wearing flip mitten sleeves. I responded that they were only available for babies. When he handed me a present two weeks later – despite our pact on not giving presents to each other – I knew immediately that he had sewn a pajama.
“Who gave you this? It’s so considerate and just what you needed. Someone must like you a lot, to invest so much time and thought. Which one of your friends … oh my, it’s the Witcher, isn’t it? The poor guy. Oh this poor poor guy.”
The Knight was head over heels in pity for the Witcher when I put on my new pajamas for the first time back at home. I don’t know if he had been so sympathetic had he known that I had spent my first night wearing it in the Witcher’s arms. Well, probably yes, because we did not do more than hugging, and in the Knight’s book this is “starving in front of a full bowl”.