My eyelids flutter open and my sight slowly comes to focus on the diverging directions the short locks of her hair take before lightly tickling my nose and cheeks.

A slight ache in my left shoulder reminds me that sharing my bed with another not unfrequently has prevented me from sleeping comfortably. Recently I've managed to slip my arm through the concavity of her neck between her shoulders and head and extend it out in a position of relative comfort. The occasional consequence of an ache in my shoulder and arm upon waking can be a little bothersome from time to time, but when contrasted with the potential loss of heat the sleeping body next to me generates, I gladly try to surreptitiously attempt to slip my arm under her and pull her into me at night as we slumber.

But for now I return to the thought that some elusive idea or noise has disturbed my sleep and slowly raise and turn my head.

Winter has descended with a vengeful quickness this year, causing the trees on the street outside my window to drop their coverings with extreme rapidity and waver against the frosty breaths of December. Their shadows break through the window and draw dark lines against the whiteness of the walls around, as though long forgotten spirits had reached through into modernity and had found no better thing to do than draw irregular dark lines before me. I count nine fingers tonight, taking my right hand from her hip to slowly point and each one and softly whisper their number and name. I assign Number Three the name of Poe, and suddenly I am amused at the appropriateness of the allusion, as this dark bedroom, with a little more menacing character to it, could certainly play a part in the great writer's thoughts.

My exposed arm begins to remember the winter outside the covers, and my neck begins to feel a slight pain from holding my head aloft while the rest of my body stays prone behind her. Before returning my head to the pillow, I lightly run the short length of finger between the two knuckles on the index of my right hand across the tattoo resting on her lower back, place the softest of kisses on her right shoulder, which causes her to mutedly emit an unconcious and pleasant sound of "mmm." Closing my eyes, I wonder if all this time I was even awake at all.