Holding him was kind of like holding an entire universe. You looked him in the eye and saw solar flares, and you couldn't help but notice that they reflected something more expansive than anyone else seemed to have the power to grasp. He opened his mouth, and you heard him string together a lexicon that summed up everything you knew and didn't know about galaxies and human nature and you finally, finally understood the complexity of a simple pattern and its place amongst other simple patterns. The ones that fit themselves together to make up the big one.
When he wasn't in your arms, you pretended that he was. You saw him everywhere. In the veins of the leaves, because you know how much he loves them, and the bark on the trees, and the cracks and holes in beaten-down fence posts. If you stared hard enough at the clouds, you could see a piece of him up there, too. The sun and stars were already in his eyes, and you could see the earth in his feet if you spent long enough massaging them.
You'd look up when you were done, and noticed that his smile was the equivalent of the light you bathed yourself in in the summer, only it was present in every season and in the darkest places. His laugh was that drink that you loved and tried to throw back too fast, so you choke on it, but you obviously don't regret it because you still take another swig. In fact, you love it so much that you do everything in your power to get more, even if you inhale it every single time. It burned your chest and left a warmth behind, and I knew for a fact that you could get drunk on it.
And his hands. They held your entire world in them, and his too, and you could trust him with it. You could trust him with your world, because he was already holding one with all the rest of his being. He knew how tight to hold when he felt you slipping, and how gently to hold when you were nearing your breaking point. He knew how to run his thumbs over your knuckles, which he looked at like they were worlds of their own, and how to trace every single line in your hand until you had goosebumps all up your back.
You watched him cry, and every piece of you fell away. It was an earthquake when he shook in your arms, and laid his exhausted head on your chest. And you felt helpless, because that's what happens when you try to hold a world together while it's falling apart at the seams. But you try, because the world is always worth the effort. And you try, because you know that he's done the same for you and your world during your own earthquakes hundreds of times before. And you do it because there's nothing like knowing that he's flourishing.
If you looked hard enough at the solar flares in his eyes, or the parts of him that were the clouds or the earth or the veins of countless leaves, you could see it. If you listened hard enough to his patterns and his laugh, and spent enough time bathing yourself in his smile, you'd become aware of it. Aware of a fragility. Once you knew him, it wasn't hard to teach yourself to see it when he flickered out. And, if you thought about it, you'd realize that it was stunning. You realized that he was complete, because he was a world with crevices and caves and wind that tried to knock down what he'd spent eons building up inside of him. Wind that eroded more than it refreshed, and caused more disarray than cooling breeze. And you would watch in the moments when the wind was the strongest with your breath held and your shoulders taut while it was doing everything in its power to get to the parts of him that were his own galaxy. The parts of him that were beyond even the clouds.
And you fell on your knees and thanked the Lord every time the wind passed that it was too weak to get to those galaxies. You kissed the places on his chest where it had done its worst, and you held his hands until they were still, and until they were warm again, and until the solar flares came back into his eyes. And then you'd walk him to bed and tuck him in, and stay because he asked you to. Because he's your home, and you didn't want to go, anyway.
And when you slept next to him like that, you felt his chest expand and recede under your arm, or against your back and, for a few flawless moments, you would be positive that he was what kept everything in balance. You felt like God had stuck him in your life for the sole purpose of reminding you that you had a reason to breathe, too.