I need a hug. Now. Even more than a haircut. More than a popcorn-fueled movie in a theater with a big screen and resonant sound. More than a leisurely dinner in a restaurant with chatter all around. More than sitting comfortably on a park bench without wiping it off. More than climbing easily into a Lyft or an Uber. More than making a routine appointment with a doctor to have some ache checked out. More than running an errand to the hardware store. More than strolling through Whole Foods enjoying the colors of the luscious fruit. More than taking a ride in a car with the windows open and the breeze blowing. I desperately need the warmth of another body welcoming me into a tight embrace.

At almost 83, I don’t believe I have ever gone this long without some contact with another human being who meant something to me. There were the days when little children were always climbing in my lap, of course. But even when they grew up, they got a good-night hug or a welcome-home embrace after an absence. My friends and I would greet one another with a hug. And then there were grandchildren, whose hugs were the best.

The isolation in which I live is crushing my spirit. I live in a facility for the old. It is not a “nursing home” where, we are told, people are perishing in significant numbers, where, in the cogent headline of a New York Times print headline, we are “sitting ducks.”