The blonde looked at her tenderly. The brunette was looking down tensely, not noticing … initially. Then she shot a glance at the blonde, before looking down again, not smiling.

Several seconds went by.

“You feel anxious,” the blonde opined gently.

The brunette kept looking down, but her mind was racing. She was feeling more emotions than she could structure or articulate. She felt out of control, yet a single emotion grew steadily amidst the rushing river of intense emotions: a tiny pinprick of gratitude that refused to be engulfed by the other emotions that overwhelmed her.

She wasn’t being asked why she felt as she did. She wasn’t even being asked whether she felt anxious. She was spared the additional burden that came with the need to respond. She could always say “no” were she not anxious, and that would be that. She valued being able to just focus on how she was feeling.

A thought flashed: how different things were nowadays. She felt no reproach from the blonde, no impatience. She tried to focus on how comforting life was nowadays.

Feeling anxious rarely, if ever, came along in isolation. It also came with a sense of shame or guilt, of feeling ridiculous for feeling anxious for no clear reason. And yet … the calm brown eyes bathing her warmly in gentle kindness didn’t convey any judgment, just compassion. The brunette could feel anxious without … without feeling anxious about feeling anxious. She was at least slightly higher up in the downward spiral, she thought.

She pondered being able to feel anxious without being judged. How much simpler anxiety would be if it were just an isolated issue without then also feeling bad about how she was feeling.

It puzzled her how the blonde could be so patient about so paralyzing an issue. This might have been the perfect morning, romantic and potentially sexual, and yet romance and sexuality went out the window whenever anxiety came along — as it did without any sort of predictable rhyme or reason. It had taken its toll in the past to where, she thought, that might explain to some extent why she felt anxious about feeling anxious. Was she going to ruin the dynamic with the blonde, like that?

The brunette wondered what it’d be like to have anxiety be a simple, accepted part of life, not worth dwelling on, and where one’s partner would … her train of thought stopped abruptly. She realized that she hadn’t been chosen as a model of polished self-control over all things emotional. The blonde had been well aware of the brunette’s struggle with anxiety — and had chosen her even so. The entire package that the brunette represented, including aspects that the brunette disliked about herself … the blonde had knowingly chosen it all.

The brunette focused on that point. Slowly much of the negative emotion ebbed away. She was left with a sense of emotional exhaustion even though she hadn’t been awake for more than ten minutes, and was still in bed. She wanted to give expression to how she felt, somehow. She also realized that she finally felt comfortable enough to interact. She looked up at the blonde, and nodded, affirming the statement. That was the extent of her response. The blonde’s look softened more yet. She was lying on her side, facing the brunette with an 18-inch span of bed-sheet between them. She held out her topmost arm in a “come here” gesture.

The brunette gave the blonde another glance, and hesitated for a few seconds more. Negative emotions from past memories were rising again, but even so, she scooted over and lay her head by the blonde’s shoulder, with her hands clutching each other nervously in front of her own chest. She felt the warmth and strength of the blonde’s arm enfolding her back, drawing her closer until her hands were trapped between their two bodies.

She lay there for a minute or two … and then started slowly relaxing. She took a deep breath, and released it quickly, then another, and released it more slowly. She nuzzled her head against the blonde’s shoulder. She felt comforted as she hadn’t felt for much of her life.

Whatever the feelings were, they were better now, yet she felt overwhelmed in a different, cleaner way. A minute went by. Then, the blonde felt warm tears on her shoulder, and she gave the slender body next to her another comforting squeeze.

The brunette felt the urge to look at the blonde. She pushed herself away from the blonde, and looked up past her eyelashes. Their eyes met. The blonde leaned down and kissed the brunette on her forehead, then pulled her close again. They lay like that for another thirty minutes, with the brunette’s emotions slowly calming. She contrasted her life with how an attack of anxiety had been experienced before moving in with the blonde … so very different. She took another deep breath, and slowly released it, and then realized that she was smiling. She unclasped her hands, and with the uppermost hand, she reached past the blonde’s waist, then placed her hand behind the blonde’s back, in a loving embrace. She loved feeling the blonde embrace her even more tightly, in response. Still smiling, she took another slow, deep breath. She felt happy and at peace.