I had to pee at four in the morning. Being cautious of the raspberry bushes, I emptied my bladder over the side of the porch. There were rumors of aurora borealis in this dense stretch of Idaho sky, but I saw nothing but a misty luminescence on the horizon. I shuffle my way back to the bed I was sharing. I tell the person I'm sharing it with the disappointing news. He mumbles. I burrow into my side of the bed and I tell him, very plainly, that I love him.

He shifts, after a moment, awkwardly draping his arm across my ribcage. I curiously turn to face him, and he fingers spirals into my shoulder blades. I fit my hand - here and then, oh, there - into the soft dips of his torso. I soak up this rare exchange of affection; I am swelling with soon to be digested and reheated memories.

It is dark, I can only smell him. His breath attracts my breath. Slowly, we breath each others air.

"Is this too close?"


I ask him for a kiss. He carefully aligns our lips. I don't realize this yet, but he is in control. He gathers first my top lip, and then the bottom into the embrace of both of his lips, in turn. Deliberate. Gentle. I don't remember what we did with our hands. He pulls away from me onto his back, just far enough for me to know that he is shaken; close enough to know that I should still touch him. I lose my fingers in his chest hair, and he strokes my forearm.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."