The couch was comfortable and soft, and we sat facing each other, legs touching. There was a blanket, large enough to keep us both warm. Though I couldn't say so, I wished she would turn and lie against me beneath it. Or maybe this was before the blanket, when I sat cross-legged and she leaned back against the arm. The memory is jumbled and cozy.

She told me she'd like to see the Pacific, that she never had. I wanted to offer to take her there, to bear her across the country at speed under the next summer sun, if only she would tell me more of her wonderful stories along the way.

How did she spin such tales? What loom had she, to shuttle past and truth through poetry and weave a wish to kiss her storyteller's mouth, a notion to set music to her words, to her smile, and to her laughter? A golden ring, the trace of a scar, places I will never see but which feel like distant homes; every story fantastic for her having told it, every word drawing stolen glances to her lips, her ears, her eyes. I studied her face, her small features so beautifully set, the gentle dance of her expression, and I tried to hide my wonder.

The night moved surreptitiously, a child who hoped and perhaps believed that we, the grown-ups, hadn't noticed his sneaking through the room. We had, of course. Three o'clock. Four-thirty. Six. We knew, but we loved the night, and we as we watched it we would whisper to each other of its passing and smile. Then we would turn back from the clock to each other and hunt for the dropped thread of her thought, that she might continue her weaving. And so we left the night to tiptoe on, innocent, while we fell.

When the sky began to lighten, she said, we would not be able to ignore it. I thought, there is more than the passing of time that is making itself known here. I only thought it, though, and when the dawn finally came and she went into it, I gave her only the thought of a kiss before I watched her go.