I drive past his office. I don’t stop, but imagine him at his desk, the phone cradled between ear and shoulder. I pull over, fight the urge to go inside. Last time he pinned me to the carpet under the desk and my heart was one continuous beat, my legs wrapped around his waist. His breath pulsed at my cheek and I love, love, loved. It was too much to hold and I almost released the words. Keeping myself in check, grasped him close instead. He never said it. Somehow it was better, the figure eight flow of it tender and charged. Molten and wordless.
The tiny creature squirms against my chest and snuffles at my neck. A mewling sound like a small animal. Her heat infuses with mine. She is mine—the miracle astounds me over and over again. She is not yet separate from me, holds my finger as an extension of herself. I smell the powder sweetness of her skin and my milk.
I lie on his side of the bed and inhale him. Often I see him for a minute as he leaves coffee at the bedside before work. At night I brush my lips over his, shut the door and let him sleep. Haphazard timing, brief connections. Children interrupt every conversation. A cup of tea, a glass of wine, a meal. A touch, a glance. Snippets to make a whole.
Turning over the pages I point to our children, the images faded. He squints at them, fiddling the corners with his thumb.
‘Who are they?’ he asks, the skin loose and papery at his jaw, the blue of his eyes tinged storm grey. ‘Lovely children.’
I take the album, close it and place it on the side table. I rest my head on his chest, the wool prickles my cheek. His heart still the same regular beat, his broad form a comfort against the world. But he does not know me. He won’t know me again.