He held my hand the entire night.

The very first time Patrick slept over, he held my hand the entire night.

We were both so nervous, like jittery teenagers, that after so long of being emotionally intimate, now it was playing out physically. We knew each other extremely well, and yet, not at all. The time we occupied each other’s actual presence had been so limited, that when we finally started spending time with each other in person, we both felt wondrously shy.

That first night, we laid in bed for hours talking, and kissing, and kissing and talking. It’s mostly a blur now. I can’t even remember if we slept together. What I remember is the hand holding. As we drifted off to sleep, I moved away from him, and he positioned himself back closer to him. His hand found mine, he squeezed it, and fell back asleep. A few times in the night, I was woken by him reaching across the bed and patting around until he found my hand, and took it in his. It was as though even in his sleep, he needed to know I was still close by. That this was real. That neither of us were going anywhere. At last, we were together, and we both wanted to hold on tight.

Now, although we rarely go to bed at different times, he falls asleep before me every night. He’s a “head on the pillow = instant sleep” kind of guy, whereas I like to daydream awhile before I drift off. He could sleep on a knife edge in blinding light, quite contentedly; I like a dark quiet room and the perfect pillow. He could, and has, as proven in a bet I lost, fall asleep with me laying directly on top of him, taking my whole body weight; I get frustrated if he cuddles me too tightly. But every night, we snuggle before we fall asleep. If I’m up in the night (a whole lot more now that we have a little person who wakes to nurse) when I move close to him to go back to sleep, he sleepily adjusts his position to open his arms so I can curl up against his chest. He pushes his leg out so his foot can be against mine. He snuggles into the back of my neck if I’m facing away from him. He strokes my arm if I lay it across him, and holds my legs if I cuddle up to his back when he’s facing away from me.

And every night, throughout the night, when he wakes, he searches for my hand. And our sleepy, subconscious togetherness, is perfectly symbolic of how and why we’re here: We simply hate being apart.


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