“Do you know much about space?”

It turns out he does know about space, he knows about most things, and he’s happy to talk if she will lie down next to him under the blanket he pulls off the bed and drags out to the garden. He can’t get used to the novelty of her body next to his, of her beating, pulsing warmth. She is close enough for him to hear her slow breaths. Under the blanket he touches her and she doesn’t pull back.They marvel at the incomprehensible size of space jangling in their heads, the path of the Milky Way – the stretching curve of their galaxy, a fingernail sliver of moon, her hand.

If this were it, he is thinking, it would be ok. If life being rather than a succession of moments dribbling into each other, so a moment as perfect as this is replaced, imperceptibly, by a realisation of the pain in your stomach, how cold and uncomfortable the bricks are, the need to urinate, was just this moment – stretching for 80 years say, it would be ok.

Without the pain and the thinking, just her head leaning against your shoulder. Just the sky. Just sweetness.


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