I sit here eating a cold nectarine, pressed yesterday into her hands by a fruit-seller. It is ripe in the particular way of fruit hastily snatched from the vine for fear of frost; bereft of the last few hours of sun.
For that, it is sweet still, and wet on my fingers. The garden is green yet, but the tenderest plants restrain their boldness; soon, the fall-bloomers, sturdy enough to withstand a changing season will put them to bed.
In the intervening months, I too have grown and changed; I am not the man who came here, nor the boy I was before. I have since become a mate and a beloved, a protector and a cherished thing. My house, my life is shared; my bed warmed, my arms filled. The outward season is changing, and there are many things that need change, but my life, my heart-at-home, is complete.
There is a safe place to play warm, silent games; a refuge from the far more dangerous ones I must play with the world. I have love to give, and am loved in return. It is not a circumstance I could have forseen, but I am grateful for it nonetheless.