I don't want to interrupt – whatever it is that he is doing. Every once in a while a hint of a smile gathers at the corners of his mouth. But the cloud of grey smoke blossoming from his cigarette keeps me from making out any details of his expression. I'd say it looks more as if he is lost in some pleasant, warm memory of not so long ago.
I pretend to be asleep, trying not to be noticed. He looks as if he stepped out of a daydream. His eyes aren't green or blue; they have the colour of coffee, almost luminous flecked with gold. His eyes can see inside you; his eyes can see how scared and vulnerable you are. When he looks at you, you know.
I am wrapped in the covers, holding my breath. My head starts to feel a bit heavy. He continues to sit there, with his hunched shoulders. What is he doing? What is he thinking? I tilt my head to the side.
Suddenly, he looks up. Oh no, oh no, oh no! I hide under the duvet.
“I know you’ve been awake for a while", he says in a groggy voice.
My head pops up. He comes closer.
Within an arms reach now, he reaches out and places a hand on my shoulder. His grip is firm and with some sort of purpose. His silence screams for my attention like the howl before the storm. And all of a sudden, love is starting to pour out from his chest.
"I love you and..."
"You don't have to do this", I whisper.
"But I want to."
I don't reply, but instead stare at him with my jaw agape. The silence lengthens. He blinks once. He blinks twice. He comes closer, he buries his face into my neck and starts murmuring nonsense words of love. I don't speak, I don't interrupt. I have never seen this indomitable man to his knees.
"My love, all great love stories have wolves in them," I tell him.
"All but one", he bellows.
"Yes, ours. And that is why today I need to ask you something."
"What is it?" I ask now horrified.
The corner of his mouth – his beautiful mouth – turns up and he says, "Will you do me the honour of spending the rest of your life with me?"