I stay up. Longer than you would ever dream I do. Not because I want to, but as the months have gone on I have gained an incredible need to watch over you. To protect you, at your most vulnerable moments. The only time of day that you feel comfortable enough to let your guard down, I stay up.
I lay here, just watching you breath. Paying attention to how the air flows and continues to hint at life in the darkness of the night. Even through my tired eyelids, your chest rising and falling is a relief. A relief that I get to witness you in my life for one more moment, a moment that I may never get again.
I knew your career would be dangerous, an every day reminder that evil exists. I may not see it, or even hear about it, but I can feel the effects every time your eyelids squint and your breathing hitches just enough to jolt my closing eyes back to your face. That same face is the only face that keeps me sane. In the daylight it is strong, steady and never hints at a compromised view of the perfect little dome of happiness we place ourselves in. Our secret world filled with the laughter of the children, and the sarcastic comments showing our random kind of love. A love that does not waiver. But during nightfall, that face shows the toll that this life has placed on your soul.
Sometimes, I think I am just over-thinking. Worrying about the possibility of things that could stop this symphony of respiratory intensity. Caught up in the numbers that cross my social feed. The numbers of men and women, bodies, thrown to the side by a society that fails to see the effects of hate. Fails to see the toll its taken on the family, friends, and individuals still walking this line.
In a few short hours you will wake up unaware of how much time I spent locked in my own mind. The strong features in that face returning to a stance that shows no fear. You will place a vest on your chest, protecting a heart that can not be replaced. You will holster the gun on your hip, boots showing the wear from previous shifts on your feet, and a golden badge on your shirt. Our son will hold on to that badge, as he laughs at the way your face expresses happiness. I will hear you call on your radio 444 10-8, and in return I silently listen to the voice of someone that has sworn to take over the job of protecting you. Take watch over the man that I stay awake for.
In dispatch, I must trust.