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Last night I dreamed of you.

You were tall and thin. I could only rest on my eyes on your shoulder, your collarbone. You did not want me to see your face, shadowed by the dim light of a single candle. My hand settled in the small of your back, warm still from being snuggled into the flannel sheets. We had just been talking, voices soft in the night, muted by the snow falling outside our bedroom window. And then you sat up, suddenly sad, tears glinting like diamonds on your cheek.

I do not know if it was your past or mine haunting those eyes, curling your body into itself and away from the rest of the world. I do not know if I could say something, hold you, and have it be okay again. Do you want a blanket? A sweater? Are you even cold?

I lay there in the darkness, quilts pulled high to protect me from the frigid air. You stood, and for a moment before you stepped into the black beyond the candle’s glow I could see the taut muscles in your legs, the sinewy stretch of calf and thigh. I saw the dragon on your hip, so small I almost missed it, a symbol of your own inner strength and will.

You pulled on jeans, a tee-shirt, and the sweater I gave you for our first Valentines. You pulled your long hair back tight, so no strand dared escape, and padded down the hall to brew some tea. It wasn’t morning yet, still that middle-time between sleeping and waking. I curled back into the warmth of the bed, smelled the pillow where you had only just been, and cried my own silent tears, for you.

Would we ever be so deeply connected that I could, with one glance, understand you? Would you ever bring me roses just because you could? When I bring you coffee at work tomorrow, will you say “thank you?”

Through the light of that candle, the one that burns every night, the one that chases away all darkness in our hearts, I can hear you singing. Your voice is soft, trying not to be heard, but I know the song. It’s the one you wrote for me, the only one you ever sing when the shadows of the past come raging through our dreaming.

The tears on my pillow this morning were real.

Somewhere, in this vast and crazy world, you are real, too.