“My love,” she says as she tilts the bottle under the rush of hot water raining down from the faucet. She looks over her shoulder. He’s standing by the door. It’s open behind him. Cracked. A sliver of light from the hall pours in. He reaches back for the knob…
Oh, how she wishes he would push it closed, take those three giant steps around the kitchen island with his long lanky legs to come behind her, as he used to, long days after work. Their bodies fitting together like puzzle pieces, how she wishes he would wrap his arms around her waist, whisper in her ear, “My love,” the way he did thirteen months ago, before—
A sudden cry from the monitor by the sink grabs her attention, for only a second, and in that second, the distance between them grows. The door is open wider now, his body fits between the crack, blocking the light, one foot already in the hall.
“Will you get that?”
But that isn’t a phone she can answer and tell its caller to ring back later, or a TV she can put on mute. That is a baby. Their baby. And has he even touched it? Fed it? Changed a single diaper? Does he know that it has his eyes? Does he realize that she still doesn’t feel like a mother, looks at it like it’s a thing, a thing that won’t be quiet, that won’t stop?
She wants to ask him…
If he comes back.
She’s left in darkness. The door closed, she hears the echo of his footsteps down the hall, but they don’t grow faint, they get louder, and the speaker from the baby monitor triples in size, the cries rising, flooding her ears, pushing her down to the floor, curled in the fetal position, hysterical, waiting for some kind of a miracle.