I hear her telling him to look in the kitchen. Her blackberry is on the table. The apples of my cheeks burn. I cut my hand on the unruly blade of the liquidiser. “Darn it.”
His voice cuts almost as deep. “What you done?”
“Nothing -” I turn on the tap “-much. I wasn’t paying attention.”
Don’t run it under the water it’ll bleed more. Let me take a look.”
I’m fine, it’s fine,” I say, unable to face him.
“Hon! My phone?” My baby calls from the lounge.
“Show me,” he insists.
“I told you, I’m fine. It’s stopping...you go.” I am forty. I am a mother. He is my future son-in-law. I want to kiss him.
“Not until you show me.” He is close. His breath caresses my neck.
“It’s nothing, I told you.”
My hand is in his.
“Then let me see, Judith.”
My name is in his mouth. I smell his Lynx deodorant and the earthy restless boy beneath. I muster the guts to look at his face. He wears that secret smile like the one last night after dinner, when my baby went to have a shower and he and I shared the end of the Australian Shiraz. He told me how time slows to infinity at the horizon of a black hole.
“The point of no return is meaningless to those who pass through it, but from a distance it appears you have been blown to smithereens.”
“What does that mean?” I said, breathy and flushed, our fingers separated by the thinnest slice of air.
“It means reality and your observation of it cannot be separated. You see what you expect to see.” His fingers bumped into mine.
“And what do you see?” I asked, as our digits created their own reality and our fingertips kissed.
“What you doing?” We both swing round, my hand still in his. My baby is stood in the doorway in a tiny pair of jean shorts and a baggy top fallen from her golden shoulder.
He strokes my hand. “You’ll be OK, you just need a plaster.”
“Thank you,” I whisper, when I want to say, “How will I ever be OK?”
My baby eyes me, but I know all she sees is a faded sunset.
He crosses the kitchen and wraps his arms around her. They walk like a pantomime horse back into the lounge. I fall against the sink, kiss my bloodied palm; seek his essence with my tongue.
I am undone.