I woke up with a swallowed scream and adrenaline forcing its way through my veins.
Shakily, I reached for the bedside table and glanced at the alarm clock, it was 3 am. I let out a breath full of pain and the taste of old fear was bitter on my tongue; I pulled the covers tighter around me and tried to go back to sleep. Behind me, I could feel my best friend’s fingers on my spine, tracing and retracing my ribcage.
Please, he whispers hours later when the dawn is barely breaking, let her not be jaded. I can feel the warmth of his breath on my neck. Please, his voice is soft like the morning light seeping in through the curtains, I know she is made of titanium and wolf’s teeth but please, his voice has not risen and yet I feel him letting out a pained whimper as he says his prayer, do not ask me to see her in such pain again, his hold tightens around me and I clutch at his hand.
I don’t dare move, don’t want to let go of him and face the dawn (not yet, not yet.)
“I once told you,” my voice wavers as I search for the right words, “that I could not go on.” Not possibly, not after everything that happened.
“You said it was the end of you,” his voice low, “but you went on.” And on and on and on, against all odds. (Against the fear and the pain and the tears and the blood smeared on the bathroom tiles on a lonely night when you did not dare ask for help when you thought it was over.)
May you be happy, he murmurs his wish, his prayer, against my shoulder blade.
The silence stretches over us like a blanket.