At night sometimes I have these terrible dreams that are really flashbacks of men that I’ve loved. One that causes me particular pain to think about is a man who was tall and strong, and he came to rescue me once when there was a terrible storm that flooded the streets and spawned funnel clouds in Humboldt Park, and he rode his bike to me across the city in record time just to be there for me. I was so scared that I hid in the basement of our building and turned off all the lights. Wind snapped a power line of some kind near the window where I was looking out at the sky and the little blue spark scared me back up to my apartment, where he was waiting on the back porch. He came in and asked why all of the lights were off. I told him I didn’t know but it made me feel safer, and he said that there was nothing safe about not being able to see things. He dried himself off and changed into dry clothes and we settled down in my frontroom to watch tv. I was literally trembling and whimpering in fear and the sirens started to go off. He said they’d been going off all around him while he rode there and I asked if we shouldn’t go into the basement and he shook his head and said “nah, only when things start shaking. But come here, let’s sit down on the floor. We’re safer down here.” He pulled a blanket over our heads and wrapped his arms around me and we rode out the storm that way. When the storm passed over us and the town where my family lives and my father called to tell me he was alright, we ordered a pizza and went out to buy beer. There were huge tree limbs lying all over the sidewalks and streets and the sky over Logan Boulevard was this strange bright orange color, deep like a blood orange, and there were huge beautiful clouds piled up looking like they had been painted by some dying impressionist of grand vision, and next to me this wonderful, handsome man who had come to me in my hour of need. We bought beer and went home to eat the pizza and watch some documentary David Cross made about his last stand-up tour. I couldn’t remember even then if we had broken up or not but things were decidedly not romantic at the time, so when I started to get tired from the beer and the anxiety, I left the couch where we were sitting and laid down on an adjacent couch. He asked me why I had moved “so far away” and I told him I wanted to stretch out and he said I could have stretched out on the couch I was on, but after a moment, realized as I did that we had broken up or something, and told me it was fine, I should rest. Then he brought the blanket that we had been sitting under and tucked me into it. The gesture was so sweet and loving that I realized that whatever it was we had fought about was ridiculous so I got up and curled up on the couch next to him. We watched another movie when the David Cross thing was finally over but it was boring so after a while we started having some kind of head war, where he pressed his head against mine for a really long time and then he rested his head in my arms. Finally, I told him I was getting sleepy and it was time to go to bed. He hesitated and said that maybe it was better if he didn’t sleep in my bed because he didn’t want me to read anything into it. I was heartbroken and drunk and I insisted upon sleeping on the adjacent couch. My heart gnawed at itself the whole night through, until I finally fell asleep around 5am. When I woke up, he was carrying me to my bed. He whispered “I have to go” and I nodded sleepily and kissed him on the nose.

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