For two days, I closed my eyes and stopped breathing. On the third morning, you were there.
You came to me in a hazy pink dream, climbing through the window, pulling back the covers and laying your body into mine. I didn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t swallow or see, but you stayed there, inhaling and exhaling for both of us. Eight hours you crossed to me, only to ignore the sunshine I’d shut away behind tight curtains and excited voices muffled by a firmly latched door.
Consciousness ebbed and flowed, but on either side of the winding darkness I found you, fingers wrapped around mine, long eyelashes blinking against my cheeks. Your heart beat for mine, and I let it.
In another life, you promised not to leave, not to judge, not to push. You told me to be honest, to cry, to ask for space, to be myself. You knew I was different, small, broken. Light years away, your word held fast.
The sun slipped into the horizon and you broke our silence, saying I had to eat, had to feel energy in my bones before you lost me forever. My stomach was solid lead; I couldn’t form words. You kissed my face and told me to sleep, then disappeared into the evening. I turned my head to the side and slipped away.
I woke to your arms around me, a bowl of strawberries and cut melon in my lap. You fed me each sweet piece, nudging me gently back to life. My fingers learned to bend again; my lungs and heart began to expand and shrink, expand and shrink.
‘I felt you.’ The words fell softly out of my cracked lips.
‘Yes,’ you said, and held a water glass to my mouth.
‘You were life,’ I said.