When I got off the phone with you Monday night, I stared at the receiver for what must have been 3 minutes. I even found myself rubbing the earpiece trying to feel your warmth. I hadn't said enough. I didn't want to let you go. I didn't want you to go. I didn't want you to be alone.

  Something came over me just then. With the thought of you waking up alone in that hospital bed knowing full well that you wanted me there beside you, something came over me. No man has ever wanted me the way you have. No man has ever touched me as deeply as you have. No ocean could stand between us.

Do you believe in magik?

  As I fastened the belt in seat H7, I asked myself how I got here. I had a few still images of me haphazardly throwing stuff in a suitcase. I vaguely remember running through the terminal to catch the only outgoing flight toward London. But I don't remember driving. I don't remember handing away my rent money to the ticket agent. I don't remember caring for anyone this much.

  I found god per usual as the boeing 747 lifted itself from it's earthly bounds. Then I found my fear. I must be some sort of lunatic. I haven't the slightest clue where I am going. I should have awaited Mark's email. I should at least know what hospital you are in. My hands perspired. I reached into my purse to find some comfort in a candy to help with the building pressure. It was not magic that I found my savior in "Hiding from Goblins". I have kept your story close to me for days. I read it again to remind myself I am not crazy. He is real. I didn't get far on the second page when a glance to the bottom lifted me higher than the plane could. Not in the way your story usually lifted me. There was a clue. I had forgotten your work address and phone number were at the bottom of that email. I breathed an elated sigh. With that I fell asleep.

I dreamt of you.

  I dreamt of you waking up and finding my face. You were just sedated enough to surpass the shock, and simply be happy about it. I held your hand and raised it to my mouth for a gentle kiss. I started to say your name as you mustered the voice to question my existence. I shushed you while brushing your tousled hair out of your eyes. "I'm here." I said. You smiled faintly and the opiate waves stole you from me. The turbulence stole me from my pleasant dream. We were landing in Amsterdam for a change over.

  I have never felt more naked and far from home than the two hours I spent in Amsterdam. Thousands of people passed me by as I sat hunched over in the terminal sobbing softly. By now you were under the proverbial knife. I felt utterly helpless. There was nothing I could do. In my pit I knew you would be fine. No drastic complications were afoot. I knew you would recover. I knew you would be fine. The stainless steel scalpel that sliced through my chest was that my presence might not be welcomed. I stared at my empty reflection in the ladies room thinking I would not be delighted to wake up to that sight. Tears were stinging again in my eyes

  When the flight that would bring me to you started boarding I stood paralyzed. My fear of being left behind in Amsterdam whisked me into the next 2-hour flight to England. However, the regret of not turning back around rocked my stomach worse than the hurricane-like weather we seemed to pass through could ever conjure. Even if my words or a sharp stick in the eyes blinded you, I could never be good enough. I have so little to offer such a kind, gentle and passionate man like you. Pushing my low self esteem aside I weighed the possibility of you actually falling for me. My return ticket home mocked me. I know that if you felt half of what I was feeling for you, that the week I have purchased in England with you could never be enough. This adventure may only end up causing us both more pain. I shouldn't let this happen. I shouldn't spank you with a spatula Sunday morning cooking eggs for us. I shouldn't lie next to you holding your hand. I shouldn't endear you to me by exposing my wounds. It can only wound you more. I don't want to hurt you ever. That will never be my intention. God, I just wanted to comfort you. I just wanted to make you giggle. Or did I just want you to comfort me. I didn't want to fall. I asked myself "Is it too late?" as the captain announced our arrival.

  Retrieving my luggage I had realized it was best not to go on some frantic hunt at Sony screaming, "Mark!" over and over. Instead I phoned Melissa. Considering I was on a payphone, she took a painfully long time to comprehend what on Earth I was doing in London and why she needed to check my email for me. I slapped my head thinking of how long you spent on the phone with me last night. How much have I cost you already? I again felt like I was not worth it but found a certain empowerment in the email from Mark. He says you are doing fine. I already missed your waking moments. I already dispelled that fantasy. However, I had the name of the hospital. Even the room number if I had decided to call. Wouldn't Mark be surprised. Maybe we would giggle about it over coffee halfway through the week when I had stored enough of your cuddling in me to step outside your place for a spell.

  Stepping outside into the cold rain England is so famous for I realized I hadn't a dime or pence as it were to hail a cab with. I was lost and alone on an entirely different continent. The strangers seemed faceless against the sky that was quickly growing dark behind them. I walked around for hours. I forced myself to ask strangers to direct me to you. The third man I encountered took pity on me, or so I thought. He drove me approximately 3 blocks to the emergency entrance. I clapped and giggled for I was finally there. My escort made some crude comments about my jiggling breasts and put his hand on my thigh. He made it quite clear that he expected some form of payment for his services rendered. I was so flustered I tried to get out of the car w/ my belt still fastened. He scared me. I didn't want any man to touch me there except for you. I was trembling and weak when I meekly asked the receptionist for your ward. She was curt about visiting hours ending soon and only allowing family in to see you. I told her I was your sister.

  The silence was tangible in the corridor leading to your room. A soft souled nurse stepped out from the room I was heading for. She told me you were sleeping as I reached for the door handle. I assured her I wouldn't be long.

  As I passed through the door spirits rushed through me. I was overpowered by your presence. Tunnel vision focused me on your leg. The stitches holding enflamed flesh together. Shunts and tubes nestled inside you. I reached out and touched your leg. Not your face as my romantic notions wanted, but I touched your wounds. It was not at all gruesome to me. It was your pain. I felt a warm shiver move up my spine as my fingers lightly traced your reopened scars. I thought a tear ran down my cheek, but it was just the rain dripping off my hair. I touched my own face when my eyes found yours. I was in complete awe of you. You slept so quietly. I could barely hear your breath over the machine that goes Ping. I smiled wondering what kind of ping reply I would get if I laid my head on your chest, but I didn't want to wake you. I didn't want to take you from this comfort you have found. I didn't want to complicate your life. I didn't want to ever cause you any pain. So I left.

  I made my way back to the airport and back to the states. I won't tell you what it cost me to book an earlier return flight. Tired and weary I logged on to accept some ranting about not returning Mark's email. This is what I found:

"I wanted to say: This is me, I offer myself to you. I want you if you will offer yourself, as I know you will. You are with me always, Anthony"

  Your mind must have kept you up while I was packing to come save you. I don't know if it's too late, but if you could just know I was there with you. I offer myself up if you will still have me.

The girl hiding in the shadows

*This wasn't actually what happened. It was a story I wrote for him when he was in hospital. We married 7 months later.

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