Time has stopped today. Diapers on the line, near-frozen, bleaching in the sun. The backyard woods are a mess of twigs as once-lively, supple plantlife stiffens to a brown-grey crisp, fossilized until spring.
It's almost noon and the house is quiet.
A couple of hours ago I showered (!) but was commandeered back to bed by Ben, a.k.a. Latchimus Von Suck-a-Lot. Later he popped off like a swollen leech, rosy-cheeked and thick with milk, satiated. In a deep sleep as he lay, face squashed up against the flesh of me with cherub lips, slack and plump. Nowhere to be, nowhere expected.
On some days this is suffocating, these hours punctuated only by one meal and then the next. On other days I slip into it like a nubbly old sweater, unruffled by frump and solitude.
Through all this many of you at one time or another said you're so strong, as if you wouldn't be. But you would. When you're in it and the doctors say follow me you follow, and when they say do this, you do. You get swept up in the system, both propelled and abandoned at the same time. You have no choice but to bear it.
When you come out the other side the world is completely different and completely the same. You're riddled with bulletholes, but there's still peanut butter oatcakes and vanilla steamers and toddler-wrestling and folk festivals and other things that conspire to make you ordinary again, even fleetingly, to interrupt the rage and disbelief, which you eventually learn to live with.
On hearing the stories of others—some unfolding right now—I've found myself thinking in horror now that—that, I could not survive. But I would, just as you would, and just as they will, reliant on companionship.