You wake up in the middle of the night, tears in your eyes, your nightmares haunting your mind even through the waking hours. Sometimes I have to guess at what they must have contained, other times you makes it easy.
“You’re going to leave,” you whisper into the darkness and collapse into a sobbing state.
“I’m not,” I promise, the weariness straining at my efforts to contain it.
“You hate me.”
“It’s because of me that you can’t sleep through the night.”
“I’d rather be awake with you than asleep anyway.”
I sit up and put a hand on your back, letting the warmth of your skin seep through the coolness of my own. My touch makes things worse, and you choke back more tears, your rasping breathe making me wince.
“I’m sorry,” you cry, and the words catch in your throat, making you splutter as you try harder to draw breathe, your lungs refusing to hold air, your attempts at breathing deeply resulting in not being able to breath at all.
I pull you towards me, our legs intertwining, your head against my chest and my arms cocooning you in the safety net of my body.
“Shhhhh,” I whisper as you sob. “You have nothing to be sorry for.”
“I have everything to be sorry for,” you say as you try to push yourself away from me. I hold fast, my arms both prison and sanctuary, until you relent.
“It’s okay,” I whisper as I stroke the oaken strands from your eyes. “Everything’s going to be okay.”
Slowly, your breathing steadies, your heartbeat slows, your body relaxes into mine. I don’t stop.
I let my fingers get lost in the waves and curls, let the rhythm of them dictate my own breathing, my own heartbeat. I think of those strands warmed by the rays of the sun, or filled with granules of sand from days spent amidst the crashing beauty of the ocean. I think of them as being tied in clumsy buns, escaping one strand at a time, always refusing to be controlled. Just like you. Each strand seems familiar, as though it holds within it a particular memory. This is the one that I whisked away the first night we met. I’m sure of it. It has that particular golden hue that none of the others bother with. This one is shorter, and must be the one I lovingly tugged just that little bit too hard until it snapped. The tips of these are blanched with sunshine from time spent outdoors, these darkened by the shadows of the time spent locked in our room. Each tells a story all its own, thousands of them forming together to tell a story that is all ours.
Just when I think that you’ve fallen asleep, I feel your body shift so that you’re watching me, witnessing my remembrance.
“I’m sorry,” you say, the words no longer forming tears across your dark lashes.
“I love you,” I reply.
Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese) – The act of tenderly running fingers through your lover’s hair.
Write at least 500 words inspired by the meaning of the word: a situation, a memory, an emotional encounter. Try, if possible, to not actually use the word itself – rather, create a moment to which the word applies, and explore it.