Art by Rissa KayDee
Almost always, I slip beneath the covers first, pulling the blankets up high under my chin and letting my tired body sink into the pillowy mattress.

When he slips in beside me, I turn to him, and every night it is the same.

His arm lifts, an invitation.

I slide in close, that place that exists between shoulder and chest is my pillow.

His skin is warm under my arm.  He brushes my hair back, his hand gentle on my head, and his beard brushes and tickles my skin.

I close my eyes in the dark and sink into the rise and fall of his chest.

The world fades away as my breaths fall into a deep and even rhythm.

Words exist, but they are not enough.  His breath is soft comfort.  His heartbeat is my anchor.

His arm tightens around me, and I am safe, not just tonight, but into the stars and dreams and places where forever is real.

Sometimes I wake in the night and we are apart, but I don't remember moving.  Sometimes I turn over and he sleepily moves in behind me, his arm pulling my back against him.

He is warm.  I am home.