I don't know what made me need to check that alarm. I blame that alarm for everything, because then I lost control. Then I gave it. I gave it to him, because I knew what was going to happen, but I didn't know I knew at the time.

Call it obsessive-compulsive disorder, or call it simply love. You wouldn't be very far off.

"You want to come check it?"

Out from under the blankets, and over, close to his body. I knew. I knew it was close. He backed off an inch, but only an inch, lying beside me on his side as I sat up more properly, trying to press the right buttons to be able to see the time. I felt his chest three inches away from my back. I felt his breath just above my arm where he'd pulled himself half to sitting. But only half. I felt his presence in my fingers, shook and slid to the end of the bed to almost stand before he said my name.

"Diane?" and I turned. He'd sat up fully, his long face before me through darkness. His hand moving up in slow motion, and I felt his fingers beneath my chin, just touching it. He made no motion, and the world stopped with every frame as his face came close through every rushed beat of my head, thinking, thinking, and stopping. His lips just placed themselves right over mine.

He kissed me. I was a statue. He kissed me, and I stayed still.


The moment that felt like an hour found my lips bridging the millimeters he'd let set to form there, to find my lips on his. They parted, like we knew this was going to happen. Maybe we did. Maybe we knew the first time we met.

(Later, after we'd kissed long enough I told him how the first week we'd met I'd gone to his room and drawn him a picture on his door because I thought he was perfectly cute. "You mean you liked me as early as that?" he'd asked, so softly but almost with a bit of awe, and that - that took me aback. This incredible fellow, so old and so put together, amazed that I'd liked him as early as that. As early as that?

"Of course.")

Maybe we knew that night we were talking, me in my pajamas just feet outside my then-boyfriend's room, talking like people who knew each other. We waited. We waited and ignored. We waited for a better time, but the time was never right, on a cold September evening a month before he'd tell me he was in love with somebody else. And I still haven't recovered from that one.

But that was later.

In this time, he kissed me, and I kissed him back. He kissed me in my bed. He kissed me in the midst of the strangest time of my life, and sent me deep into a strange, strong well of myself that had me screaming in a hot, scalding shower, dreaming I was watching my skin melt away. Wondering when I would die.

He kissed me. And the next day I started to write poems. If I thank him for absolutely nothing else, I thank him, I thank him for that.

He put poetry back in my life.

The little boy on the edge of my bed, thin and pale and slight as rails, ready for sleep just before this kiss and somehow, somehow he fit. He fit in my room and he fit in my life and I couldn't figure out why till he left. Why one kiss had me dreaming of loving and flowers and him, and scribbling in a notebook and trying to find the words for the first time in years.

Thank you, dear. Thank you, my lovely. Thank you for giving me poetry.

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