i open my eyes. my throat is dry beyond anything i have felt before. i cough, and then instinctively try to muffle it. slowly, i turn my head to my right.

it feels like i have fallen down a rabbit hole. is this real? this is not. maybe the realness is not. or the un-realness is. a silver of yellow light slide through the space between the white curtains. it is past dawn, perhaps around 7 in the morning. there are indiscernible sounds outside. in here, everything is almost quiet, still.

he sleeps, inches away from me. earlier on, our hands have sought each other for comfort, for… assurance? our fingers are still interlocked. i trace him with my eyes. in his unconsciousness, he looks angelic, and terribly young. part of his fringe flops carelessly onto his forehead. the corners of his lips curl up a little. he breathes steadily, the rhythm matching mine in perfect synchrony. cautiously, i lift my hand to caress his cheek. is this real? this is not.

there is, as i have written before, a vulnerability you entrust someone with when you allow the person a chance to watch you sleep. when sleeping, the walls come down. i see him not as the cocky fellow he presented to me. i forget the cold words he said when we were falling asleep. the cheekiness that i experience from him is knocked away by his silence. this is just him, a him he may not ever show me when awake: none of all that he has shown to me so far, yet a sum of all that he has shown to me, and more.

for a spell, time stops, allowing me to freeze this moment – a moment between us that is mine and mine alone. i gently touch my fingers to his lips, withdraw my hand, then close my eyes.

is this real? this is not.