She comes and goes. The baby is startled. Her face vanishes and reappears every thirty seconds. He laughs. He blinks. He cries. She smiles and embraces him in her arms.
The world can be so confusing as a child. Even when your world is just within four walls and a bosom. And the world is never really much more than that.
But the walls are shaky and the body mistrusting. The two are strung together by a love that knows little mercy, that asks more than what’s present or possible, that becomes larger than life.
Children grow so fast but the childish urge to wonder which face would pop out from the next peak-a-boo never truly goes away. The game you played as a child was both terrifying and exciting. There’s a certain comfort to the familiar pattern of smiling, anticipating, crying together.
Familiarity can be such a strong pull. The only love you’ve known was a disconcerting one. But you learned its ways thoroughly. You learned the ticks that sent them off the rails. You knew how long to stand out in the rain until you were let in again. It’s titular to the beginning of your life that love makes one wait. It can bruise you and tarnish many aspects of your being but it’s the only thing worth living for. Or so they say.
The arms that hold you are the same ones that brought you pain. They bring you back to the shelter after raining onto you mercilessly. Love is benevolent and forgiving. It’s hard to imagine life outside the crests and troughs it brings. It’s hard to look at a life outside of that. It’s hard to imagine a life that grows outside of it.
Growing old together within the same four walls. Counting each others’ wrinkles and making just one promise last. It always sounds like a plan and with nothing else in your life, you want to make that one plan last.
But the walls can sometimes be too thin. You hear the wind rustling through the leaves and wish there was a window to look outside. There’s a melody to the way it sways. You wish you could be the wind. Free and floating. You could go to so many places. And your longing is transparent with only each other to look, there’s not a lot you can hide. And oh how you long to hide. If only you could sleep under the bed for the day. But you don’t want to be thrown out. You don’t want to see cracks in their glassy eyes. The floor gets shaky each time that happens. And you can’t put your feet on the ground.
It’s better to stand on a solid ground and know you have a place to stay in then place some distance within each other. You promise to always face their back as they lie and watch them go to sleep. You promise you’ll always be the one watching them in the game of peak-a-boo with the tireless wonder, anticipation and concern.