The door is open and the sun comes in. Even though it’s raining and you’re running with water and your coat has that wet dog smell; the sun comes in with you because you’re smiling. I’ve no idea what has made you happy for it’s been a long day. The dog, from his corner basket, looks up to source his own scent, lent to you. He’s spent most of the day curled up there, other than a brief walk to buy milk and the papers. Age slows him a little but he’s still determined, half slides, half staggers from his basket, stretches his full length and leaps; hits your chest with his paws; now you’re laughing.
We fill the kitchen, the three of us and the sense of being part of a whole begins to pull me away from my editing. My jumper finds a rough edge to the table and catches on my sleeves as I write. I want to finish this batch; need to get paid. But it’s hopeless; as ever, you are my primary distraction, procrastination and excuse. And yes I’m smiling too.
Clearing my office onto its shelf will only take a moment, papers to file, pens away, laptop stowed. If it were a better day we could sit outside on the step and eat the cake I made yesterday. Here will do though; it’s less far to carry the tea that you begin to make while I make like I’m still working. You don’t speak and I want to hear your news, but you make a play of making me wait. These days and these rituals are the treasure we build together. I make a show of stopping work, roll my shoulders and stretch out my hands.
Your voice is light and warm and dry with humour. You tell me of the railway embankment repaired now after the flooding and the hours you worked in the café; who came in and what their stories were. I tell you of my shift at the centre and the writing that keeps my days rooted.
Before we eat you unwrap a tiny picture; a gift to our house. It’s no more than ten centimetres square, enamel on metal, a little worn. The door in that house stands open, and the sun shines out from where they live too. I am content that there are others as lucky as me.