Dear Walt,

I’ve slept alone now for five nights which actually isn’t that unusual. For the past couple of years, it had been my knees making me restless, or your back keeping you from getting comfortable, or my snoring. Yeah. I admit it. Even if you came to bed with me, you’d often move to another room in the middle of the night, and we both slept a lot better for it. I think that’s why sleeping by myself now isn’t really so much different than before December 21st happened.

What is different is stretching out my foot to find yours, or listening to you breathe, touching you to make sure you were. That heart thing scared me. Rightly so, huh? And let’s not talk about having my morning coffee show up magically on my bedside table because that’s who you were. You wanted me awake with you for that quiet time before the day began. We didn’t always talk then. You did social media. I checked to see what was going on in the publishing world. All of that before we got into the rhythm of work.

I know this is cuckoo, but I’ve been sleeping with a stuffed bear someone sent me to “snuggle, punch, or set on fire.” I also have your memory foam pillow that I hated. But what completes what I told a friend yesterday is my Walt Nest are several of your T-shirts.

It was one of my favorite things to do, buy you one that had you written all over it. And you wore them all. Except for the number “42” one I gave you in honor of ICEFALL because of your clever Hitchhiker’s homage… which you then lost for MONTHS behind your dresser. That one; your Tyrion Lannister quote: I drink and I know things; your steampunk Cheshire Cat and another couple of Alice in Wonderland designs which were also for ICEFALL.

I like having those with me while I sleep. Not that I’ve done a lot of that yet, but turning over in the middle of the night and having one or more to pull close is nice. It would be a whole lot nicer if you were there—god, typing that chokes me to the core—but I’m a writer and have a great imagination and so many delicious memories of the twenty years you warmed me and my bed. I wish I could’ve fixed your physical heart and not just claimed your emotional one. I’m so glad I found you all those years ago. I’ll love you forever.