Through the Night
By Erin Darroch and Justine Graham
Good night, Sweetheart.
These are the last words I hear before I slip into restful slumber. I carry them with me, tucked into my heart like a promise of safe passage, an ardent wish to see me reach the morning unscathed.
I no longer dread bedtime as I used to do, nor try to ward off sleep until sheer exhaustion overtakes me. With you as the guardian of my midnight travels—steadfast and watchful—I can brave the haunting landscape of my own dreams.
When I wake up shaking in the deepest hour of the night, as I still sometimes do, you awaken with me, ever alert to my restlessness or distress. Your sleepy eyes rest on me in the darkness and reassure me; the weight of your gaze says you’re there for me, and always will be.
I relish the way you gather me up, press me close, hold me to your heart and shield me, a bulwark against those dark dreams. The scent of your warm skin, the tickle of chest hair against my nose as I breathe you in, and your rumbling voice in my ear, murmuring tender words you would never speak aloud to another soul. All of these things are mine, and mine alone.
My eyes drift closed again as I listen to the steady rhythm of your heart against my ear, allowing the soft mantle of your whispered words to settle down upon me, lulling me back into a state of warm and blissful peace.
I treasure the way you hold me while we drift awake, and the way you greet me at sunrise with your lips against my shoulder blade, your fingertips trailing down the length of my body. I love your heavy hand on my hip, curving over my ribcage, sliding under my breast. There’s no greater pleasure than to usher in the first rays of dawn with your reverent touch, amid the rush of joy that stems from your wordless affirmation that I am home, I am safe, and I am loved.
Then you say, Good morning, Sweetheart, and we begin again.