In blackness I woke from the dream terrified, and stiffened as I felt your arms around me. Your strong hard arms that enfold me the way only you can. They tightened a little, gathering me back against the heat of your chest and you mumbled into my hair, your voice seeping through the follicles, slowing the pounding in my ears and I drifted back towards sleep. I felt the impression of your thighs on mine and the subtle grind of your hips as I relaxed into you, comforting but also male as the cool night air caressed my cheek and my eyelashes tickled your forearm as they fluttered closed.
I woke this morning and didn't see your eyes looking sleepily back at me from the pillow. It disoriented me a little, though stranger still it would have been to see you there. Tangled in white sheets and the thin film of sweat that heralds scorching days. I tried to get up but realised my head was swimming and nausea had clenched the middle in a vice. In my early fog of waking and the delirium of illness I wondered if you were in the kitchen and tripped out of bed, wearing my sheets as a toga to find you before remembering, hazily, that you would not be there. That no one would be there. That I was alone.
I curled up on my side and wept a little, giving myself to the fantasy for the first time in a long time, before the last hiccough was gone and I was spent. Still ill, still hot, but cleansed of the ghosts that visit me in the middle of the night, in dreams when I cannot defend myself.
I am 31 today. As I was yesterday, from 10:20 am. It is only a number. A prime number and yet it has filled me with none of the anticipation and excitement that 30 brought. The last prime was 29 and that year was hideous. The one before that at 23 not much better. I wonder if it just suits me to be melancholy, or if it's the temperature racing over my skin. My birthday was spent flying away from the ones I love to this loneliness here and it hurts more today than it has in a long time.
The dream of you just the icing on a cake that I never actually had, the burn of your skin on my skin unable to be scrubbed off in the shower, but lingering, trying to comfort as I pushed it away.