She cried softly at first, and then she cried hard. She wasn’t even sure why, but the more she told herself not to the more the tears came one after the other until there was no controlling them at all. As she rested her head against his bare chest, he kissed the back of her neck and held her. There were no words, just his fingers going round in circles over her throbbing temples as her body shuddered and shook. It soothed her. Not enough for her to stop crying, but enough to remind her that she wasn’t alone. And that’s what it was all about, wasn’t it? Not wanting to be alone. She was terrified of it, and now she had met someone, she was scared shitless he would leave. It was stupid. She felt stupid. Felt like she wanted to run but then what good would that do? She’d been running for so long now, and there had never been anywhere to go, but it was something she couldn’t help doing. Digging her fingers into him, she buried her face into his chest out of shame. She didn’t want him to see her so vulnerable, and yet to let it out came as a relief. To be open in her own way when for so long she’d kept her truth hidden as deep as she could. Chewing on one of the buttons of his dressing gown, she got her breathing together, and her crying settled down to a gentle sob. Her belly ached as if she had cramp and her throat was tight. In the same moment she felt free of a great burden and yet she knew it wasn’t gone. Nothing had been resolved, but all the same a little ground had been made. There was a slither of light shining in where once there had been no light at all. As he stroked her hair, she pulled herself up and nestled her chin on his collarbone so her tears dripped onto his pale, goose-pimpled skin before running down his back. He gave her a sniff while wrapping his right arm tight around her waist. She resembled an overgrown baby. A newborn desperately trying to figure out a way to return to the safety of the womb. The pain was sharp, and yet she wasn’t alone. Not this time. As he pushed his nose against her ear and breathed her in, she kept telling herself that indeed she wasn’t alone. Focusing on the warmth of his body and the tickle of his beard upon her face, in his arms she felt real, and at this moment, she felt tethered.