I walked through the threshold of my bedroom doorway. The lights were out and the steady drone of my computer fan filled my quiet room. All was normal, as I had expected, but still something nipped at the heels of my mind. There was more in there, in my womb. A person. A woman. I could smell her without my nose, hear her without my ears, see her without my eyes. Far back in the corner, where my bed rested on the floor, she was there, waiting for me.

Without preamble, I spoke. "You shouldn't be here," I said quietly.

Her soft voice replied, "This is exactly where I should be."

I walked in a little further, letting my eyes become adjusted to the darkness that surrounded us. "Why did you come?" I asked.

Her answer wasn't immediate, but rather drawn out, as though for effect. "Because you needed me to."

I stood at the foot of my bed and looked down at her. She was beneath my covers, lost in the sheets and cloth of my bedding. I hadn't bothered to look around and see if her clothes were lying on my floor; I knew she was naked and waiting for me. "And what do you expect from me? Sex?"

I saw the thin smile creep across her shadowed features. "I expect nothing from you but whatever you're ready to give. Shall I go?"

I let my coat slip from my back and draped it over my desk chair. "No," I answered. "I'll join you shortly."

I disrobed and slid easily into my own bed, not entirely sure what I expected from myself.

I could feel her next to me, breathing in patient anticipation of my touch. I could have had her. I could have taken her then and there, but that would have cheapened her gift of being there at all. Instead I simply curled myself around her body, enveloping her in a warm, tender embrace. I kissed the nape of her neck gently. "Thank you," I whispered. "I'll see you in the morning."

And I went to sleep, with her in my arms, content and strangely feeling more alive than any amount of self-gratification could have merited me. I was home.

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