I know what you expect. You want me to fill this space with a story about the time I was so hurt that I cried myself to sleep. Well there are plenty. The feeling you get when you work your muscles so hard that they give out? I've had that from hysterical sobs, caused by mourning or overreacting or any number of things. You can get used to anything if you do it enough. This is no different.

You feel so alone. Wailing into a tear-stained pillow, the pain in your features shrouded in darkness. Your sinuses ache from the pressure of built up sobs; your eyes burn and sag at the pull of exhaustion. So agonizingly alone. But the truth is that deep down inside, you aren't. Someone will know. Because eventually, you're going to say, "...and then I cried myself to sleep." And that's it, you're not alone anymore.

This is not about sadness, though. Not today--and I am sorry if you wanted it to be. So. About the only time I've ever found it difficult to cry myself to sleep:

Mid-October, 2-something a.m. and I am breathing in so deeply and so slowly that it sounds like I'm underwater. There's an echo in my ear that sends me a copy of each breath, double time. One breath turns to two, one long breath, two shorter breaths. I readjust on my pillow, but it's hard to sink into the middle because there's weight behind my head. My cheek is slanted upward, then, staring at the ceiling.

My stomach tightens, clutched between his fingers as he dreams. He buries his nose in the soft mess of my hair and whispers, "I love you so much. I'm so happy." And right about then my heart explodes. I try to respond, "I love you too," but my hushed voice cracks. I lift his hand to my lips and kiss it, as to express sanctity. He cups my hand in his and brushes his thumb against me. His caress makes my skin feel fragile, as if the touch could shatter me into a million pieces. It's the sensation you get when you've been alone for too long, do you see? My cup runneth over, sending rivulets of saline from my eyes.

I nearly gasp to mask the sound of sobs. My body convulses once, twice, in silent hiccups. I sniffle and blink, desperate to keep this spectacle to myself. Lying perfectly still now, my contorted face betrays my peaceful body. I can't upset his sleep with my sobs, even though he's their cause. So grateful, so happy. I close my eyelids to the hot, splashed skin of my cheeks. It takes me more than an hour, but eventually I fake stillness for so long that it happens, and I sleep.

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