My eyelashes, soaked and bunching with my tears, grazed my cheeks as I lowered my eyelids. I could not look at the moon that night. I would not look up at its yellowy rays and be comforted. I would not let my mind be distracted by imaginative thoughts of fantastic creatures and other grandeur. I refused to let my mind wander, for my soul had been wounded and needed time to sob and breath in the redeeming air of the night.

My bare toes sank into the soft, moist soil. It felt cold and cool, and delightfully dirty. It sent at first a pleasant sensation through my body, and then a shudder came on as cold numbness crept through my feet. Pulling my coat closer around my shoulders, I quickened my pace as I walked beneath the eerie naked branches of the storm-battered oak tree. My teeth chattered. I bit my lip.

Swirling in a sudden cold torrent, the night wind swept through my hair. The dark strands whipped over my face, sticking to my damp cheeks. I ignored them. My mind was lost, and my soul raw. My knees wobbled and I needed someone desperately.

It was then I felt it. A burst of warmth, more sweet than a mother's embrace. The scent of it enveloped me, lulling me as a child is lulled to sleep by song. I could feel the strong hands on my shoulders, the firm grasp of a shadowy embrace. Darkness fell around me like a cloak. I was wrapped in safety.

Warms hands caressed my eyelids, wiping away with bare skin the tears that had laden my eyes. I felt the warm breath once again, and my lips were lost in the passionate haven of others. There was no lust in the kiss; I felt no sensuality. The warmth was just that; warmth, not heat. The grasp was comforting, not seeking. I felt as I did long ago when my mother would put me to bed – when I knew that all was right, and my trust was untainted by knowledge, growth, or change. Secure in the haven of safety, my happiness was so full I cried. I sobbed uncontrollably, my head bent over brokenly. The strong hands stayed with me, and steadied my pitching torso. I pressed myself against my protector.

"Please," I begged, "please, don't leave me. Ever."

At these words, the glow of warmth stirred. My shadowy haven disappeared, and I was left in the cold.