“can I keep you?”

When I have nightmares I run to my mom’s room.

I’m almost 18 years old and I still go to my mom, it’s the most juvenile of secrets that I have; I creep in and she wordlessly makes room for me on the other side and says a small prayer while I drift off to sleep.

I turn on my lamp.

I’m afraid of the dark, always have been, and I probably always will be. The lamp is my security, the orb to ward off evil intentions.

I stay up.

I’ve been doing it since I was six, I stay up as late as I can to outrun the scary thoughts and make myself so exhausted that they are the furthest thing from my mind.

Last night I had a nightmare and I woke up in an unfamiliar place.

I ran to you. You were half asleep with your now darkened hair ruffled around, I poked and prodded in the dark until you made space for me next to you. You wrapped your arms around me and I could feel bare skin brushing against my cheek; the scandal of the situation brought me into a flustered, bashful state.

You turned the lights on. Just small ones because you know the shadows on the walls play tricks on my eyes so you whispered reassurances in my ear. You kissed my forehead because you know it makes me smile, I could feel your fingertips lazily picking up and putting down random strands of my hair.

You stayed up with me. In the following two hours we had honest conversations of where things will lead when we have to part. We reflected on the beautiful growth eight months of this relationship have given us. You listened to my fears about college and reminded me that I belong. You made me laugh, you always make me laugh; the side glances and sassy comments left my cheeks aching but I didn’t mind—I never mind.

I fell in love with you all over again. You make me realize the kind of life I want to have, that I can have. No matter what happens or how things go for us I want you in my life. I would love to have you in my life if you would give me the honor.

Thank you for letting me keep you.

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