It is 2 am, and the house is dark, barren and cold. The sounds which live in the house are no longer shackled by furniture. Freed, they rise to the ceiling and quiver in an unfamiliar state of dispossessed indifference.
I’ve spent half the night with the child, who is distraught. She is too little to pace the floor, but her head takes up its own tiny pacing as it turns back and forth in bitter frustration. She sucks hungrily at the air but it is harsh and arid on her lungs. She is surprised to find herself this way, but submits to her condemnation when she can, and asks for help when she can’t. I’ve been with her for the young half of the night, but now both it and I grow old. The darkness has arrived with its terrors and lies, and taken me with it.
The man approaches and I give him the child. I am weary, and I forget that he is her father. He is firm and unbroken in his manner and he sends me away to heal from the dark. He knows, knows that my heart beats in my head sometimes. And so I go, but not out of submission but greed.
I wake to hear my heart beating under my pillow. I lift up my pillow, and sure enough, it is there, pumping, red, and merciful. And the house has changed. It is still dark, but different in a way I do not understand. There is water somewhere, I can hear it.
I get up our of bed and walk into the kitchen with my heart drifting behind me. Sometime in the night while I was sleeping the man and the child took all the doors and windows off of the house until the distinction between inside and outside was gone. There is rain in the kitchen, there is wet warm soil, there are plants emitting humid perfume. The man and the child are lying on the floor together in a state of sleep that the angels might envy. They breathe one breath and it is slow and full and long.
My heart slips into its place in my chest, then fills with light. I return to bed and sleep.