Full from a jalapeno omelet and waffles, you sleep with your arm thrown up over your head. Old Spice snowflakes nestle in the darks curls of your armpit hair. I’m watching your lips pucker slightly and your eyebrows twitch, as your chest moves slowly up and down. Your brown skin is dappled with light spots in the crease of your arm. I’m startled by how calm you make me. When I was 20, my sister had a baby boy. I spent the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college bonding with him. After I’d pace the hallways with him perched up on my shoulder, patting his back and singing Destiny’s Child songs, he’d finally fall asleep. Looking into his small, perfectly round face I’d feel a rush of happiness and serenity. His contentment made me content. So I’d stare, as the swing rocked him slowly and the hum of daytime television played in the background.
Huckleberry came to me when I was 24. It was the beginning of my winter in Mongolia. I was mistakenly sleeping with another volunteer and dealing with harassment from the local men. I had trouble sleeping in my felt tent, and would spend many nights awake, staring at the fire in my stove. I named my skinny, street kitten Huckleberry within the first minute of holding her and spent the rest of the night cradling her in the pit of my elbow, petting her furry head with my finger.
Now, at 26, I watch you sleep. Balancing my emotions of love, fear, and happiness. My long-standing independence and detachment have been rattled. The man who loves American cheese, video games, chain restaurants, and the Miami Dolphins has completely gotten me. So I watch you, too antsy for an afternoon nap, and I appreciate the quiet. I savor the feeling of this connection to another person, and try not to fidget, as if the peacefulness of love can be disrupted.