A lonely, winding path.

A flickering lightbulb overhead.

The street’s shrouded in complete darkness, with little illumination to boast of, save for the tiny pinpricks of light from the occasional firefly, the bulb providing no such help.

There’s just the two of us here, just you and me.

You draw your hood low against the cold droughts of wind as we walk, and I do the same, not from fear of the cold, but from the ache of possibly seeing a downward curve to your lips, disapproval curling at the edges, and it’s this that I cannot allow.

All of a sudden, you let out a small gasp and clutch my hand tighter, your steps skittering on the asphalt, and it’s almost in tandem with the loud chorus of howls starting up somewhere, unseen and terrifying.

Gripping my cold, bloodless fingers, you pull me to a stop, asking in hushed whispers, “Did you hear that?”

and of course I do, but how could I possibly tell you that, without betraying my shaky voice, without letting slip a sliver of the fear that’s curling through my veins, rendering me immobile?

So I just gently stroke my thumb along yours, hoping beyond hope that it gives you a shadow of the comfort I yearn to, and pull you forward, alongside me in the plunging, encompassing darkness.

And with trembling steps, you come along, reluctance emanating from every pore, and if I could, I’d laugh at the mildly disgruntled faces I know you must be pulling, the very thought of your nose wrinkled in displeasure sending me to the edges of hysteria.

(If I could, I’d simply get you out of here, where we knew nobody and no one called out our name.)

(If I could, I’d give you the whole world to do with as you so wished.)

but I can’t, so I just walk alongside you in a deep, deep silence.

We walk and walk and keep walking, till we do not know why we’re doing this, till we do not remember our destinations or our names, till we are familiar with nothing but the shape of the other’s breath. (but then again, does anything else even matter?)

We walk and that’s when, at long last we see it, the path ahead lit by the warm glow of a lightbulb, only this one does not flicker.

And it’s here that we almost reach our first disagreement, because I wish to walk to it slowly, completely drink it in with our eyes, to see, to check that it’s real, that it’s there, that it won’t melt away at the barest touch, the way dreams often do, the way mere figments of imagination bring us to ruin.

But you’re you and you wish to rush into it headlong with shining eyes and that mad laugh of yours. You’re you and I’m me and when have I ever been able to deny the smallest whisper from your lips? And so we hold each other tighter and run towards it, towards everything, our faces split in identical grins.

And surprising me in the way only you ever can, the first thing you do, after we reach, is throw your arms around me, and I curl mine around you, hiding my smile in your hair as I feel relief as I’ve never known before, course through me.

“I can’t believe we did it”, you whisper contently, before quietly adding “Weren’t you scared?”

And of course I was, but how could I possibly tell you that if it hadn’t been for your steady heartbeat against my palms, that if it hadn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here right now?

A luminescent lightbulb overhead.

There’s just the two of us here, just you and me (and I would never have it any other way.)