It’s a cool crisp autumn night as we lay in the meadow, side by side, both of us looking up at the stars.
I want to close my eyes and absorb this moment, but I’m afraid I’ll awaken to find this a dream and him no longer here. This time I’ll have to dream with my eyes wide open.
I hear his breathing and feel his heart beating next to mine, through the ground, I muse. I have fallen asleep many nights to this image. I open my mouth to speak, but don’t.
I like the cold night air snapping at my face and the smell of the damp grass and the warmth of him next to me. I try to breathe it in and save it; rare and wondrous are these moments.
He adjusts himself on the ground and pulls me into his arms. I silently thank God and look upwards, expecting to see the stars perfectly aligned. But they are beautifully scattered and look the same, only brighter and twinkling.
I want to laugh and elbow him in the ribs and say, “What in the hell took you so long?”
And then I want to bury my head in his chest and cry for all the pain I’ve ever suffered and sob to him, “What in the hell took you so long?”
But I don’t.
I long to close my eyes and be enveloped, but I’m still afraid that this is all a cruel dream and I’m not ready to know it.
I turn and look at him and choke back the tears. And silence the sentiment. And try to control the giddiness. I don’t say any of the clever things I’ve been saving up for him.
I touch his face, reluctantly close my eyes, and kiss him.
He is exactly as I remember from another place in time.
His lips move slightly from mine and I open my eyes and let my fingers touch the warmth of his mouth.
“What in the hell took you so long?” He whispers.