When she closed up the shop that evening and walked towards her apartment , she felt a moment of anxiety. It was unusually dark ; even the streetlights seemed to have difficulty penetrating its thick envelope , so much so that there were rings of light around each posts with sheer blackness separating it.
She held her purse next to her chest and walked faster .She didn’t slow down until she was in her flat with the door locked behind her. She went straight to the bedroom, changed into her night dress and started the dinner.
She called up her neighbour, who baby sat her son after he got back from his preschool, to let her know that she was back and that she will be there to pick him up. With the dinner still on fire, she went to the next door flat to collect her son.
She could hear the laughter and the running feet when she rang the bell. Her neighbour, a kindly mother of two , opened the door. Her son, wedged out from behind her with his school bag in one hand and the other reaching out to be picked up.
The same sequence every time. She picked him up , thanked the neighbour and carried him to her flat.
Her heart melts with each jibberish he spoke; a language only she understood, in some inner level. He mixed his baby language with common place words like ‘ok’ , ‘its ok’ , ‘naughty boy’. She asked him about his school, checked his lunch box to see if the sandwich and biscut she had packed in the morning was finished. She always worried about his eating. He was so thin. Big head and skinny body. Her husband kids about that by calling him a match stick.
Once in the flat, she undress the child and put him in his pyjamas. The dinner is done and she feeds the relectent child.
Her husband walks in when the child is nodding off to sleep, cradled in her arms as she watches the tv. The dinner is already placed on the dining table. The man walks over to his wife and takes the child, kissing him and takes him to the bedroom.
At that moment everyday, everything makes sense. They are a family; codependent, solitary,nuclear; loved , reciprocated : family.
She watched the father tucking his son into bed, sitting in the dark room, still in his office clothes. She stood by the door, hesitating to break the spell. She watches while her husband kiss her son's forehead and silently walks over to join her.
They stood together , holding each other , taking in the vision of their sleeping son; in silence.
Each together, yet separate , in the myrid of thoughts that passed through their minds.