I put a hand on his back, between his shoulder blades, lightly. I promise myself â€“ as I have done a thousand such times in the past, and will probably continue indefinitely â€“ that if he says nothing before I take my hand away, if he makes no move, loving or otherwise, that it will be the last time I ever touch him. Ever. I know that as we lie on the bed, still as tombs, we are both thinking and doing the same thing: wanting to not be the person who breaks first. Wanting to not be the one who admits defeat.
After five years, this is a ridiculous way to carry on. But I put a hand on his back, and I make myself empty promises.