I love you to three rocket ships crashing, said always her sister.
This one says, lay on my chest, in mimicry of an invitation she's been extended a few times herself. She reaches out. Her room is dark, almost black but the summer sun won't go quietly into that good night and knife slits of light cast the room in only a fuzzy gray. The rainbow night light reflects a prismatic arc across her ceiling and we contemplate it, she on her back with her arm extended out, me with my neck across her arm just so, my nose near her cheek and my chin enough on her shoulder that indeed, I could claim, squishlessly I lie on her chest.
Let's play 'I love you up.'
I snuggle in deep. "I love you…up to the stars."
I love you…up to the planets.
"Oh, yeah? Well, I love as much as the leaves on all our trees."
I love you to a hundred! she always says, triumphant at that enormity.
"I love you up to all your tickle spots," I say, skimming under her chin and beneath her toes.
She giggles, and arches her feet open for more. I love you up to everything in the whole wide world! she always concludes, surmising sagely that nothing could be bigger than everything.
I squeeze her and hug her and whisper, "I'll check on you soon." This isn't a girl who will fall asleep with company. She could talk all night. I promise, as I always do, that I'll be back in five minutes.
I put kisses on her knees and toes as I crawl out of her bed. I return as promised and find her, in the cradle of her very own rainbow, fast asleep.