“God sure is crying a lot today,” he says. Rain falls on the tin roof and blows against the window; pools of water mark potholes on the road and the neighbour’s driveway.
His small face is soft and crumpled. Mine is lined and drawn. I understand what that means now—as if each crease was carefully traced with charcoal pencil during the night.
From the kitchen I see him turn to me, his lips move, but all I can hear is the rain. It’s what it does around here. Been worse—that time when he was still in my belly and Roger and I sat in the driveway in his shitty old car watching the water rise as Roger turned the key again and again. I’d finally got out, waded down the road with the water lapping at my crotch.
The matches crumble in my hand until finally the gas lights. Everything is soft and sticky with damp. It’s how the rot sets in, microscopic spores that can crumble wood.
I take my coffee back to bed. With a fingertip he traces the run of a single drop of water down the window. He was born into it, water pelting down from the sky when I arrived at the hospital. They were full—all that was left was a cupboard of a room barely big enough for a bed. Big enough for me and him though, and the midwife who said she’d stitch me up nice and tidy.
I know those spores are all around me, millions of them drifting in the air, invisible and perfectly formed. I feel them settle on the clammy sheets, the windowsill, my hair, smell their taint on my breath.
He moves his head into the nook of my arm and sweeps his tongue cat-like across my skin. “I’m hungry.”
I pick black spots of mould off the bread, smear it with peanut butter. Next to the rubbish bin I see it. A fungus, a fragile ear-shaped flower. I pluck it, pull the shallow roots free and tuck it gently behind my ear.