I am always up before you, but this morning after only an hour I crept back into bed and lay very still, listening to you murmur in and out of sleep. You put your warm arm across my chest and in the fog of your half-dream you noticed my chest was shivering, my breathing too measured and rigidly controlled. What's wrong, you asked, your voice blurred with sleep, and I said, Nothing. Just the same thing as always. Don't be sad, you said, and staring up at the ceiling I blinked and a tear escaped. It was hot and fast at first. By the time it reached my hair it was sluggish and cold.
I am trying to assemble some sort of replacement future, some goal, some expectation, something that will make me feel when I reach the end of my life that I did not squander the time I had. I am trying to find some way of mattering. I am trying to find a mark to leave. This is unknowable terrain, and very slow going. Many times I have wished I could just forget the need to hack a new me out of this years-old deadwood, just disappear. And I would have if not for the sound of you in the morning, if not for the warmth of your arm across my body and the slow but live pulse beneath your skin. Some days it's all I'm capable of feeling.