We discussed it. We discussed it to death. She in the bed and me pacing the floor beside it, sweet baby sighs and suckles as background noise.
It’s the most terrible idea we’ve ever had. Absolutely fucking terrible. Awful.
But we discussed it. And it’s our only option.
I’m already in awe of her. One night a mother, and she’s already surpassed my every expectation. How does she know exactly what to do, at exactly the right time, in exactly the right way? I could do this for years, yet still have no clue how to be a father.
I wouldn’t know how to gaze into his eyes like she does, how to smile in that way that tells him he’s everything, absolutely everything.
But she’s known how to do that forever. She’s looked at me like that so many times I’ve forgotten what it was like not to love her. Even before everything. She’s looked at me like that almost from the beginning.
I’d die without that look—it’s my sustenance, my air. And yet I’m willingly walking away. William needs that look more than I do now. At least that’s what I try and tell myself.
Her skin—between feedings and discussions and fitful sleep—I pressed the taste of it into my tongue, sucked the smell of it into my lungs, to parcel out to myself in the months to come, inch by agonizing inch.
What if I run out of her before I return?
We cried last night. We held each other and we kissed away tears. I told her I loved her, and when she whispered the same words against my own lips, I thought I would die, her hair slippery like satin and our son laying only an arm’s length away.
When I finally fell asleep (I fought against it valiantly, but lost), I dreamt of the three of us alone on an island. Scully in a bikini and windblown hair, William naked in the sand, and me, so fucking happy I couldn’t see straight.
When I woke though, he was fussing, no sand in sight.
She took him to the other room to nurse, and I didn’t follow. One day, I’d have said I’d follow her forever. But that was until last night. Until we discussed it.
The soft melody of her voice bleeding through the door is too much to resist though. She’s a glorious pied piper to my lovesick rat. This is the last lullaby I’ll hear for so very long.
Slumping in the doorway, I listen.
Eyes closed and lips against his downy head, she murmurs between stanzas, “I love him so much, Will. I love him with a ferocity I’d never have thought possible. I’m so scared to let him go. But we have to do this. It has to happen this way. It has to.”
Her voice is far away and lost, and it spirals through my body right into my soul.
I wail silently against the wall of her bedroom and feel myself breaking apart. At least if I crumble into a million pieces, one or two can stay.
One with her.
And one with William.