He slides into bed next to me, his left side far warmer than his right. His chilled skin presses in as he drinks from my heat. “Can you put your arm around me?” He asks.
“Sure, scoot down.”
A shifting. The sheets tangle and we kick ourselves back to softness. Dark lingers. December morning takes her sweet time stretching awake. We wait her out.
“It’s funny how the neck is shaped,” he says in his dreamy murmur.
“It’s like it’s designed exactly right so someone’s arm can fit underneath.”
He snakes a leg over my left and under my right, snaggled toes seeking the pillowed weight of my calf. He reaches the length of me now. This has happened. Ten years and here, with his hair tickling my jaw, his feet lie loose across mine.
The impression of the tiny beast still marks my skin. His infancy thrums there, a damp comma curled into my belly and chest.
Continuity hides in the wardrobe of finality. Once a devotee of context, now I read each moment as a complete sentence, unable to catch the breath at the end (and then, and then, and then. . . ) This is parenthood’s steady (or is it sudden?) erosion of fluency. Weariness plays tricks on perception. Serial appears as parable and the mind finds its relief in taking this moment’s story as the only story.
Our morning drifts on like this, as if nothing waits on the other side. I fear this blindness and cherish it too. Of course I know my boy will prefer his own bed soon, and then his own room, and then his own place in his own world (and then, and then. . .)
Now he creaks awake into the frosted dawn, this frosted dawn, and comes padding across the distance to find my warmth. It can’t matter that I’d rather stay soaking alone in my private dream lagoon. It can’t matter that we’ll both grump and fumble through our mid-afternoon exhaustion. The only thing to do is turn back the blankets and unfurl the sash of my body. A decade since he left it, and it fits him perfectly. For this fleeting forever, we fold into one.
Image: Rob Gonsalves, “Making Waves”