In the darkness, I am watching. I see your face as it relaxes as you let out a soft snore, only to be pulled back in a grimace as the pain rears up again. I watch as you roll from side to side, asleep but not really, searching for a position where your body will be comfortable. I watch as you finally doze off again, lying on my arm this time, your breathing finally settled into a calm, easy rhythm. The tingles as my arm goes numb tells me that I should move but I dare not for fear of interrupting what few moments of peaceful slumber you do get. There it is, perhaps three or four minutes pass this time before your legs decide they need to move. Your brow furrows and your lips pull taught as you shift again, still convinced, or at least hopeful, that a new position will bring comfort. I check the clock; I know you were up long past me, waiting for the exhaustion to finally overpower the pain and allow sleep to come. The nights are not always this bad but when they are I can only lie here and try to not disrupt you. Its nights like this that make it impossible for you to have solid plans on any given day – I know tomorrow morning will not be a pleasant one for you. The pain coupled with the lack of sleep will combine to keep you away from doing many of the things you love. If I, or most people for that matter, have a bad night’s sleep we struggle through the day, complain and maybe joke about it a little before looking forward to the next night. You don’t look forward to the next night however. The quiet and the darkness only mean a lack of distraction so the pain may have the spotlight again; the pain demands it in fact. As I struggle with my own helplessness my thoughts are broken by you releasing another tortured moan. I look over again to see your lips pulled back with agony once more. Your forehead creased in frown as you again shift position, arms and legs stretching, searching for comfort and relief. Your face is so good at smiling all day, the rest of the world oblivious to your struggle, the constant pain, the inability to do many of the tasks that you used to. I often wonder how you do it, how you manage to fight this war daily. Your face has become a master at hiding it all. During this quiet time however, in the middle of the night while the world still sleeps, you let down your guard. The mask is off, there is no more disguise and the battle is real. I see you.