You’re sleeping right now; the sounds of the air purifier and your heated breathing machine filling the otherwise silent morning air. Nothing else seems to exist when you’re asleep. Nothing but quiet — a brief respite from the clang of reality. Like I’m a mile underwater, looking up without the mildest indication of the hurricane that boils on the ocean surface. Between the tanks and the tubes and the chargers and distilled water and O2 regulators and blood oximeters and pills and appointments and disappointments, it’s easy to forget the peace that silently flows beneath and above it all, sometimes cruelly out of reach. And for a time that won’t last long enough, here is peace: you, with your hand on my forearm, softly sleeping through the ticking of my keyboard.
Sleep on, my love; remembering the sleepless nights behind us and the ones we’ve yet to share, knowing you can reach out, at any point of any night, and find me there. I’ve already passed the crossroad in my life of weighing the two worlds before me; life with you and life without you. You’re my path, not so much by choice, but as a matter of survival. For the love you’ve built around me is a house only you can haunt.
Sleep on, my love; keeping at bay our unvoiced wish to banish these dark days, rather than welcome their refinement. For sadness, like rage or diffidence, is just another way to love each other, providing deeper shades to paint with.
Sleep on, my love; forgetting the fear, the injustice, the stains these moments are leaving. Because I can’t imagine a life that is walked with offense producing anything but. Because this thing in our life is an opportunity that too many have let rot. And we can’t do that, because someone else, maybe not too far off, will go through this too and will want to know the why’s and the how’s and the what now’s that we’re only starting to answer for ourselves. We should forget whatever we feel this world or its people may owe us, because resentment is a backyard bone best left buried, and a sense of what’s owed is perhaps merely runoff from a lack of giving.
Sleep on, my love, and don’t fear waking. There are more than just hurricanes on this side of it all. There are answers slowly forming, lives your story is touching, hope you’re helping grow in the world around you. There are trips to the beach to be had and half-read books to someday finish, recipes waiting to be perfected and lazy Wednesday afternoons longing to be spent wandering the endless aisles of Target. There are more good times ahead. There are more bad times too. But there’s an armor I see forming around you, a chainmail of all the hundreds of times your heart broke and forged back together, only to be found running toward the next fight. You’re the strength from which I draw, for relief and for courage (how dare I be so afraid, when you’re so strong?). And it all waits for you, as you warmly sleep; the wars and peacetime of our inevitable landscape. But for now…
…sleep on, my love.
I’ll keep watch.
I’ll keep time.
I’ll keep it all,
Until you wake.