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I miss windows.

It's ironic, really. All the things I could miss, I miss something as unimportant as being able to look outside sometimes. Before, even when the view was just some grimy, dirty back alley and the blank wall of a concrete building, I still always enjoyed being able to look out into something that was bigger than my life. The light from the sun always gave me hope and made me feel like I could keep going.

Without that light, I still keep going.

Of course, windows are about the only things I wish I still had. And when I weigh everything I've gained against that one small loss, it's more than a fair exchange.

It's been two years, and there are some things I'm still not quite used to. Living by artificial light and the clock I think I've adjusted to, but there are other things, some smaller but more profound, that still surprise me sometimes. Sometimes in the middle of the night I still wake up with no idea of where I am or how I got here. Even worse, sometimes I wake up cringing, sure that the thing that's going to happen to me when I get up is a beating.

There are times when I wake up in an even worse state than that, but I choose not to think about that.

None of those times are nearly as frequent as they used to be, though, and even when I have bad nights, I can control them now, and actually get back to sleep. That's a relief on more levels than one; they were so frightening, and I need all the sleep I can get now, and when I have nightmares it almost always wakes up Slake.

That's another thing that still startles sometimes, that very first moment when I wake up and I don't know why I feel someone next to me. I'm growing used to it, and it only really bothers me if I wake up suddenly and don't have time to orient myself. That's another thing I still don't understand -- why someone would even want to share a bed with me for one night, much less forever. I'm learning to accept it, not to question it, but I still don't understand it.

There are a lot of things in this new life of mine that I don't understand. The security, the acceptance, the friends... the love. It's not perfect, and there are still things that... that happen. I think I finally understand that I'll never be completely, totally free of Ern... Falcone, because every time I think I've moved past him he comes back. But I can live in the times between, and if there are still things that hurt, at least I have someone to share them with me now.

In the end, I think that's much more important than windows.


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