They’re testing my hair to see if I’m the boy’s father. One strand against all those years looking after each other.

I know, in every way I can, that he’s my son. What will happen if they find no thread between us?

My lawyer says it’s for the best. He says, ‘what do you think?’

I say, ‘I used to care for her too back then, you know.’

‘That doesn’t matter any more.’

‘I know,’ I say.

I’m wearing a suit that makes me feel I’m not quite me. At the door to the chambers I’m patted down by a couple of scrubbed-up bears. ‘Procedure,’ they say. Then they follow me to the too-big table and sit either side.

She’s opposite, dressed like she owns the place.

‘Call off the goons,’ my guy says.

Her lawyer’s gaze stays on her Blackberry. ‘If things don’t go you’re way,’ she says, ‘we’re just making sure he doesn’t try to…you know…do anything silly.’

There’s a cheap manila folder on the table next to the jug and water glasses. The door closes behind me.