I wake in the middle of the night with a feeling of uneasiness, a vague anxiety that things aren’t alright, that I am not alright. Then the fears start to come and attack me like the sound of dogs barking
in the darkness. As I lay awake they continue, relentless and pointless, leaving me feeling that nothing I do is enough, that I am not enough, that things are out of control.

I tell myself things are ok, that there is no reason to fear like this, but as I lay in the darkness I feel so alone, so isolated and cut off from any solace or support. In the night everything feels amplified. The fears seem so big and there seems to be such a distance between me and others. I feel the pain in my stomach. I am so aware of how alone I am.

I become aware that I am not alone. My wife sleeps next to me, unaware of what is going on within me, inches away from her. How could she know? Though a storm is raging inside me and so loud that I can think of nothing else, the room is still and silent. I hear her breathing and feel her presence near me. So close, but it feels like she’s a world away.

I reach out and place my hand on her back. It is a gentle touch. I do it for me, as if to assure myself that she is really there and that I am not alone. I have no other intention than to feel that I am not alone. She must feel my hand because she slides slightly toward me in the darkness. No words are spoken, and I’m not sure she is even awake. She seems to automatically be drawn toward me, maybe from years of being together she knows where we meet, where and when we need to come together, even without conscious thought.

Her body seems to fold effortlessly into mine and I put my arm over her. In minutes I join her in sleep. Knowing she was there when I reached to her in the dark. This was enough. I am not alone.