53. Handle With Care

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Been beat up and battered 'round
Been sent up and I've been shot down
You're the best thing that I've ever found
Handle me with care

'Are you asleep?'

'Yes, I'm asleep.'

'I was tired, now I'm wide awake. I can't go to sleep.'

'Well... shhh. Just close your eyes...'

I'm nowhere near falling asleep either. I just don't want to talk about it. I want to lie here, in the dark, in the quiet, and think about things.

'I was going to get up at six. It's nearly two now.'

'Six? What for?'

'To meditate.'


'Get up early with me?'

'At this rate, there won't be any point in going to sleep.'

'Meditate with me, in the morning. We could go down to the beach at the bottom of the hill.'

'We're going there tomorrow anyway.'

'Yes, but there might be lots of people there later. If we go first thing, it will be empty, just us. Come with me?'

'I... don't know how to do it.'

'I'll show you. It's not difficult. Well, you have to practice a bit but...'

I don't reply. There's a pause, but then George rolls over, sitting up, leaning his head on his hand. 'How can you think of going to sleep?' he asks, teasingly, pushing the covers down so he can trail his fingers lightly over my stomach. 'Talk to me for a while.' He kisses my shoulder.

'I'm tired, George. I got up at five this morning.'

'And you were still two and half hours late.'

He moves to kiss the side of my neck. I turn my head away.

'What's the matter?' George asks, knowingly.


'What are you worrying about?'

'Nothing. I'm just tired.'

George lies down again, facing me.

'Is it because of what I said?' he asks, gently. I turn on to my side, putting my back to him.

'Hannah..?' He snakes his arm around my middle.


'Han, it doesn't mean that I don't...'

'It's not anything to do with that, George. I'm tired, that's all. Just... let me go to sleep.'

'Okay. Sorry.'

I feel him wriggle down inside the bed behind me. He pulls the covers up over us both.

Two or three minutes later, I turn over to him. I put my arm around his waist and moving deeper down in the bed, rest my head against his shoulder. I breathe him in. His body is warm and solid, his skin soft and sweet smelling. Comforting. George, who despite his assertions is nearly asleep, rolls onto his back so he can better accommodate me, putting his arm around me.

'I love you,' he mumbles, sleepily.

'I... Me too,' I reply and George squeezes me.

He doesn't realise, but this is what he gives me. It's what I want, what I need, and only he can give it. This is what George gives me, that no one else in the world ever could.

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