The glare of the kitchen light was too harsh -she stood still for a few seconds, allowing her eyes to adjust. The tiles beneath her feet were cool-they felt refreshing. She stretched her feet against them wiggling her toes. Acclimatised, she made her way to the fridge but changed her mind about the glass of milk and poured herself a small brandy instead. She wrinkled her nose as she sipped; the first taste always seemed to be the worst. Sitting back and putting her feet up on the chair opposite, her gaze fell upon the fridge door. In the middle, held by a magnet, was a photo taken of the three of them. Finn must have only been 6 months old at the time. They looked like the happiest couple ever, not a glimmer of things to come. She loved that picture. The first time he had noticed it he asked about it. She had told him that it was for Finn’s benefit, that’s what she had convinced herself.
A knock at the front door made her jump- she hit her knee on the table. Who could it be at this time of night? Again her eyes picked out the photo on the fridge – her question answered. Cagily she moved out into the hallway and towards the door.
“Who is it?” her voice had been barely a whisper but he had heard.
“It’s me, can I come in?”
“It’s the middle of the night” Despite her retort she had already begun to unlock the door. He edged into the hallway and for a moment they just looked at one another. He looked a little dishevelled. He began to explain his presence and she ushered him into the kitchen, not wanting to wake Finn. If he realised that his Daddy was here all hope of sleep would be lost.
“Bit early for visitors don’t you think?”
“I know. I’m sorry. I just needed to come over I hadn’t planned on coming in. I didn’t think you’d be up but when I saw the light on….” She gestured for him to sit down and he did.
“I couldn’t sleep.”
He reached over and took a sip from her glass. The first taste didn’t suit him either.
“We had a gig tonight, I just felt totally wired afterwards and I haven’t been able to sleep. I just wanted to be close to my family.”
She ignored his comment and took her glass back.
“Do you want one?” He shook his head. Leaning back in the chair he ran his hands through his hair. He was visibly uncomfortable and she did nothing to ease his discomfort. She hated herself for doing it, but she also hated the way he always seemed to manage to make her feel as though she wanted him to take her into his arms.
“How was the gig?”
An uneasy silence seemed to linger between them. Sipping from her glass she stole darting looks at him. There seemed to be a melancholy about him. She fought the urge to reach across the table and place her hands on his restless fingers. He was visibly uncomfortable and she could have made it stop but she didn’t. Instead she poured herself another Brandy. This time he joined her in a night cap. He looked good. Time had not changed that. His hair seemed wild, obviously still tussled from his earlier performance. Having caught her looking at him he looked her in the eye. She held his gaze, almost defiantly and then looked back down at her drink.
“You can look in on Finn if you want to.” This was her olive branch; he knew it and he felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
“Are you sure?”
“Of course, just don’t wake him.”