At a party last night, a friend of a friend whom I last saw nearly four years ago, when E was a baby and she was pregnant with her second: ‘Yours are exactly the same age apart as my two; it’s such a great age gap!’
Another friend-of-a-friend comes in the door, ‘I haven’t seen you guys for ages – and, oh my god, you’ve added a whole other human to your family!’
* * *
I pull M into bed with me for his last feed and we wake up together, smiling into each other’s eyes. E bounds in and snuggles in beside us. I look at my family and say, ‘We’re all here!’ meaning, just here, just now, in bed, and then the sadness and guilt washes over me. Of course we’re not all here. E feels it, too. We all do, except for M, who doesn’t know yet who is missing.
* * *
I back my dad’s car into a streetlight as I leave the parking lot at the university. There is a loud crunch-and-scrape noise. At first, I feel upset and worried and then I have the very clear thought that it really doesn’t matter, in a world where perfect little babies die, if you dint up the bumper of your dad’s car. It really doesn’t bear thinking about.
* * *
I talk to my grandma on the phone in her hospital room. I ask her about the terrible itching and I can hear my uncle in the background trying to tell me and my grandma that the doctors are working on fixing this for her. I can feel that he is scared of what is going on in a way that neither my grandma nor I are; she is dying and we all know it, but she and I are not afraid of it and we can still talk. We can really talk, and not many of the rest of them can manage this right now. I know she is dying, and I am sad about it, but it is also such a different death, after a long life, than my daughter’s. I’m not scared of it, and I don’t feel the need to avoid the truth of it. I face it with my grandma and we laugh on the phone, hang up smiling.
* * *
This morning the sky out the bedroom window was streaked all over with wispy pink clouds. Such a bright pink. Pink for her, I thought. A morning sky for my gone girl. My arm around M, I waited for everyone to wake up, for the apartment to fill with the sounds of my family, as it is.