blurred silhouette of a hand reaching out
Photo by Maisa Borges on Pexels.com

“My love,” she says as she tilts the bottle under the rush of hot water from the faucet. She looks over her shoulder. He’s standing by the door cracked open. A sliver of light from the apartment corridor pours in. He reaches back for the knob.

Oh, how she wishes he would push it closed, take those three giant steps 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 and 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 in the crack, blocking the light, one foot already in the hall.

“Will you get that?” he says facing away from her. His voice already sounds miles away.

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, that she 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.

© 2018-2023 Nortina Simmons

 Originally published January 13, 2018.

9 thoughts on “Distance

      1. Yikes. I’m glad he didn’t hurt the baby but it seems like his “love” extended only so far as being part of a couple. I remember those early days when my wife and I first had babies (she gave birth to twins) and it was a definite transition. Still, most of us manage it and end up becoming Dads.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A limited love is definitely true for this couple. Unfortunate for the baby. One can only hope that they eventually find the right path, for the child’s sake.


    1. That’s been happening a lot, huh? They’re not in my spam, so I don’t know what’s going on.
      Anyway, yes, having a baby can definitely make an already complicated relationship even more complicated.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad this story was able to speak to you. I don’t have children, but I feel so connected to the challenges of motherhood. My best friend’s son is autistic, and she also just had a newborn. It all seems like too much sometimes, but at the same time so rewarding when you see those babies smile.
      Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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