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The Antidote to Shelter Us

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There’s a little patch of the world where nothing hurts, just a small one. It’s not very big—just big enough to fit two people if they squeeze together real tight. There’s honey-colored sunlight and the soft whisper of leaves rustling in a breeze. It’s warm but not too warm, soft but not too soft.

Here Adam meets Nigel, and nothing terrible happens. Nothing more than stubbed toes and noses that bump during kisses. Pets that die and alarms that ring too soon. Normal things. Bearable sorrows.

Love is just love, and it’s never confused with pain.

“You always—” frustrated

“I never—” defensive

“I didn’t mean—” sorry

They have normal fights, the kinds that people have. The kind born of comfort and familiarity that mean I know you; I see you. You’re so human, and I am too.

The fights always end, and that’s the best part.

“I’m sorry—” forgive me

“I love you—” I do

“I’ll never—” I know

It ends in a casket because all loves do, but in the meantime there are kisses. In the meantime there is love and nights curled together like the leaves of young ferns, pushing back the dark through sheer force of will. In the meantime they bear witness.

They die when they’re old, after nothing at all happens to them.

It’s so much better this way.

There’s a patch in the world where nothing hurts. It’s just big enough for two.