I come home to see a faint orange glow in the left-most window on the second floor. He's still awake. I am tiptoe-ing anyway, and then opening the door with a bang in the hopes he'll come out. The lights are on in the kitchen; the fan is running. There are messages on the machine. I move toward his room and hope to run across him, to walk straight into him and he is beaming, coming out moving through the wooden frame to join me.


I sneak through the doorway to the sight of only feet, then long legs in dark pajamas, running clockwise to my vision. Perfect stillness. He is draped out across his bed, his arms tucked softly under his head and a book by his side, his alarm not set, his clothes in a mess all over. He was waiting up. I guess. It's clear he didn't make it, but this is a present almost as sweet as his smile.

I want to tuck him in but he is lying on the covers. He gets a kiss on the cheek before I turn off his light, close the door and go to work. He rustles gently and looks like he might wake, but just turns, snuggles closer to his pillow and burrows down, nestles soft, and looks like he feels safe.

I'm glad that I could give this to you, glad that you are here.

I wave at him with a kiss on my fingertips and then whisper out goodnight, sad that this is his last night. I am going to miss him. But for now I am just looking forward to the morning, suspicious he will make me coffee, and eager to tell him stories about today.