It’s an old memory. Too old to upset.
I pressed the cool skin of her cheek with a plump, immature finger. Then traced the roots of her fixed lashes. I recalled the optimistic flourish of their application, leaning into the mirror, which itself leaned against the bedroom wall.
Should I pluck one, from a tented lid? No way, I wouldn’t dare. She’ll wake.
Then I peered along near perfect nostrils, rimmed red, and sore, dusted.
Why so tired, Mum?
I touched the dipped philtrum where she was joined, in the factory – that’s the joke we shared. Joined somewhere, with ideal symmetry.
I pushed the sheet aside, altered the balance of a limb. It reached out, fish-belly white, showing a fork of vein in the crook. Palpable, like the spider’s web in the book she read to me.
So I squeezed her forearm, soundlessly. Her hand semi-flexed. I’d tightened a tendon, without knowing it.
She’ll wake up now, and tickle me.
And I’ll make her squeal in return. I know her funny bones.
Then I pushed her cheek.
Then I pulled her hair.
Until she turned her head.
And gazed at me, endlessly.