I fell asleep last night in my own Chicago bed — bundled under layers of blankets, space heater roaring to compensate for the building's aging radiators — and barely stirred when the Knight got in, just as November flipped to December.
I woke up long enough to shut off the space heater, which had brought my room to about 472 degrees, scoot to the other side of the bed, reposition Gunther between my shoulder and cheek, and fan my sweat-dampened hair across the cool pillowcase.
By the time he'd come to bed, I was long gone, queen again of the Land of Nod.
Around 5 a.m., I woke up and wanted to talk about a dream I'd had.
"I dreamed last night that one of my friends had two little Dachshund puppies, and I got to take them for a walk on these little pink leashes."
I remembered the dream so well, the tug of the little leashes in my clenched fist, their soft brown hair smooth against my palm as I crouched on the ground next to them and stroked their long backs.
It was a dream a little girl might have, and I awoke feeling like a little girl.
Not like the other dreams I've had lately — where I woke up scared and in need of coddling — just a wide-eyed child, full of hope and wondering whether one day, that simple dream could just magically come true.
He laughed softly and put his arms around me; I nestled against his bare chest, smiling beatifically, and closed my eyes again until the alarm went off. Time to be a grown-up again.