Strange morning

Every morning when I wake you’re beside me sleeping. The idea of it still astonishes me. That I should be with you. I wake and reach towards you, to whatever skin is closest. I touch it delicately so as not to break your sleep. Just as I do on this strangest of mornings. We are far from home. My hand alights on your shoulder.

How can I tell you how I feel? I try but often I just sound creepy. I tell you how how I long to feel you against me. How I never want to leave you. I sound like I’m desperate. But you understand.

For years I’ve borne the weight of your one sadness. I’ve watched the pain of your not becoming a mother.

But now we’re here in this distant room and the little girl who’ll rely on us breathes quietly at last in her cot.

When I brush your skin this morning you stir. You’re already awake. We slide into the interlocked embrace we know so well. It seems a part of each of us—this thing of arms and legs and whispered words. Warmth and belonging. I tell you, clumsily as usual, exactly how I feel.

You say, ‘I know,’ but this morning it is different. We watch her bedclothes’ tiny rise and fall.