We sit in the garden, an orderly who moves like a gun being cocked is just out of sight, but we both know he’s there. Hesitantly, we make small talk. We met once before, just after the announcement of the new uniforms.
She was the first to notice. He slept less, putting that down to the warped, circumstances that he was living in. He would describe floating fifty feet in the air pulling things to life from his own imagination, saw them recreated, sculptured out of green fluorescent matter as hard as steel before making them wink out of existence with a blink of his eye.
Finding him stood in front of his easel, canvas blank but staring at it with his arms by his sides, smiling like a child when she touched his shoulder to rouse his attention.
Whisky, their pomeranian child proxy growling and snapping at him, then going missing and how he couldn’t meet her eyes when she asked about it.
The noises it made when he took it off and put it on the bedside table at her insistence. Sick, crooning whispers that scraped at your nerves like a crying baby. The relief for both of them when he put it on and the whispers stopped. Especially when he wore it as they made love.
She cannot finish the story of what the scan revealed, rushed into a procedure before she could call him. Ask him what he had put inside her. Glad, in her own way of not getting an answer. After that, she would hear the noises whether it was on his finger or not. It was upset with her, she had failed him, and it, and it would not forgive her. She smiled at the memory of how the pills gave her a moment of respite before the paramedics brought her back.
Her eyes well up with tears as she puts both her hands atop mine.
‘They said the baby wasn’t viable. But I think that was the worst thing. That it was, but it wasn’t my baby or his.’
They come and get her, but she manages to whisper something to me that stays with me, fuel for the fire that burns inside me.
‘Promise me, you’ll stop them.’
On the front seat, medical photographs that make me throw away the burger and fries that I had ordered. It had it’s father’s eyes.
That make me switch off the radio, afraid of what I might hear.