Julia padded softly around the bedroom and bathroom as we both brushed our teeth and got ready for bed. She silently rubbed my bare back and kissed my shoulder, standing there, watching me in the mirror with her soulful eyes. My chest filled. I’d never been so happy to see anyone in my life as I was when she walked through that door in the ER.
I put down the toothbrush and gingerly slid an arm around her waist and tugged her close to my side. The familiar scent of her, the warmth and love I found in her face when she looked at me, was as life-giving as a bonfire in Antarctica. My lips found her forehead and then moved down the side of her face. Her skin was warm beneath my mouth; alive. I breathed in deeply, sucking in her life-giving breath for my own.
Julia’s arms wound around my waist and she kissed my jaw before our lips met in a gentle kiss. I could feel the remnants of her fear and sensed the ache in her heart at the prospect of losing me. It was a feeling I remembered all too well.
She drew a shuddering breath as I forced my arms to wrap around her despite the pain that knifed through me with the movement. “I was so scared. I couldn’t bear to lose you. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
My hands framed her face as she looked up at me, her features gentled by sadness and love, my thumbs brushing along her cheekbones. She seemed so small, so fragile… so luminous. Emotion flooded through me and my heart constricted. It was so real—the possibility of the end of everything—and losing just one second with her was something I couldn’t contemplate. Even these quiet moments were so precious. It would’ve been easier being the one who died, rather than the one left behind. My brow knitted and I closed my eyes, nodding, pulling her little body closer into mine. “You won’t lose me, baby, but I know what you mean.”