It’s dark. We’ve been up later than we should be, considering you have regular banker’s hours to contend with. I’ve heard you settle into your routine. Your breathing changes like it always does as you slip into sleep.
I’m reading a book on my Kindle. I have the screen brightness turned way down, like I always do. I keep it on the lowest setting by default. Because I want it to be visible when I reach for it in the darkness. But not so bright it keeps me artificially awake. Or that it wakes you.
I read a chapter or two before my medicine hits me, and I’m drowsy. I put the Kindle down as gently as I can on my nightstand.
The instant it lands, you reach out your arms and fold me into you. Apparently the part of you that seeks me out is awake enough to understand I’m ready (and willing) for capture.
I do my part and scoot back towards you, closing the distance between us.
And as you hold me, I find myself thinking back on the time before I knew you.
The Time Before You Barely Feels Real Now
It’s so strange now. Such a distant quality. The time before you barely feels real now. Because everything changed after I met you. Everything within my life. The logistics and particulars were all transformed, as you came in and did your best to help me clean up the messes I made as I struggled to survive through a series of emergencies, rather than ever living.
And also everything within myself changed. How I viewed who I was. My attitude.
I don’t know how to explain it. Only that I had given up on happiness a long time ago. Had written it off as something foolish and overly simplistic that other people said to keep themselves going. And certainly not something intended for me.
And then there you showed up. Someone who felt so familiar that at first I barely noticed you, thought you were boring.
Before it dawned on me that you were home.
You were home to someone who had never really felt like she was at home. And you were going to be my home for a very long time.
When I first started spending the night with you, I was amazed by how quickly I fell asleep. That had never happened to me before. Not on my own, nor with the variety of bed partners I’d had over the years.
There was something different about you. Something that settled the part of me prone to primal fear.
I Wonder How I Would Have Felt If I’d Known You Were Coming
Sometimes I wonder how I would have felt if I’d known you were coming.
Would those years have been easier? Would the loneliness have been easier to bear? Could I have even felt better about myself? Knowing that someone great was coming for me, later in a brighter future.
There’s no way to tell, really.
There’s one thing I do know for sure: Before you were in my life, you seemed like an impossibility. Like all great things, meeting you would seem inevitable in hindsight — but an unrealistic notion until you showed up.
It’s something I try to keep in mind any time I talk to someone else who has not only given up hope for themselves, but is so convinced that happiness doesn’t really exist that they are prone to dismissing the happiness of others. Have a tendency to assume others are lying when they demonstrate that they’re happy. That there must be some flaw, some misery under the surface, that apparently happy people are hiding from others.
I try to keep in mind that they’re living in a world where things like you aren’t possible. Perhaps they’ll one day stumble onto their own bit of happiness — and then it will seem inevitable.
But until that point, there’s really nothing you can say that will convince them that good times are coming. Or that they even could.