We look good together, he says, laying his arm next to mine. His is like copper and milky coffee. I thought I was a little tan after this summer, but next to him, my skin practically glows, its luminescence seems to pulse.
I feel his hand on my belly, and I think idly about how flat it used to be and isn't anymore. I ask him about the work he has to do tomorrow, we joke about the cat calmly sitting at the end of the bed, taking a bath. Privacy is hard to come by around here, I tell him. He doesn't seem to mind.
I like you, he says, and bites my neck, just until it hurts, and then stops.
I like you too, I tell him.
He goes home. I go to sleep.
The chlorine makes my nose twitch. It takes a total suspension of disbelief to get in, every time. It is good practice for work. I know how awful it will feel to get in, and still, I snap on my goggles and push off from the pool wall into the freezing cold. It is the worst thing I've ever felt and it lasts less than ten seconds, I'm already warmer as I stroke down the pool. Nothing feels as good as the first lap, slicing through the water, the fastest I'll be all day. Except maybe the last lap, worn out, my lungs raw, my mind blank but for stroke, kick, breathe; stroke, kick, breathe. It takes all my concentration to remember what lap I'm on, there is no room for anything else. Eleven....eleven...eleven, I chant with each out-breath, the bubbles streaming from my mouth and nose. And then, twelve...twelve....twelve. I am so tired when I get home, I fall into bed, my legs feel leaden and hollow and delicious.
My midwife friend and I, we go to a festival today. It is the most New England affair - the sun is like whiskey and a few leaves fall. In the shade, I'm glad I wore a sweater. We wander through vendors selling handmade wool blankets, delicate watercolor paintings of local flora and fauna, we step over hula hoops left on the lawn for anyone to use. A ragtag group of dreadlocked people play something vaguely bluegrass-sounding, and all of a sudden, she remembers the massage slot she signed up for in the shiatsu tent. She hands me the baby and runs off. He sinks into my shoulder, gums his thumb, and hooks the other hand around my neck. We wander like this for twenty minutes, he is sleepy, sun-warmed, and content. It's been ten months like this, him and me. Auntie Caitlin is here! they cry to him when I come over and he grins, reaches for me, scoops out my beaten down heart and offers it back.