The place our love lives

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This is a difficult one. Since baby number two arrived, the noise hasn’t doubled, it’s quadrupled. We’ve lost any spare minute of time together. Bedtimes are a disaster. When the boys are asleep, too late, we’re done. We want each other to stay up and talk, but the bed calls us like a temptress. We have no time any more to swim or run or cook or do those things that gave calm and reflection and equalisation and release. And, sometimes, in the rush and the wash of things, and in trying to preserve some version of our own selves, we forget to look at each other. I’m so grateful we’ve had years of incredible times together, and so many winks and hugs and knowing nods that we can access when the sea starts to curl.

The place our love lives is a quiet place
It sits on a stool in an oaky bar
It sips a too-strong cocktail it knows it can’t finish
It talks about impossible dreams that still feel attainable
It stands on the outside and looks in
It makes fun of the world
And each other
And nothing

The place our love lives is an unconscious place
It reaches out to touch a neck, softly, without thinking
It offers a drink before drinking
It wraps an arm around a waist
It looks in an eye and smiles

The place our love lives is a faraway place
It sits on an Esfahan rooftop, sipping tea
It climbs a Sicilian volcano in the dark
It cycles for three days to a village full of storks
It throws satsumas at walls
It walks on salt in a Chilean desert
It eats oysters, fresh from the sea, at a Whitstable counter
It swims naked in a turquoise lake
It pairs words with pictures in black and white
It laughs through deserted piazzas at night

The place our love lives is a spartan place
There are no plates, no oats, no cheese, no crumbs
No pants to wash
No heartaches to heal
No pasta, from yesterday, stuck on the floor
No foam to remember to put on the door
No bills, unpaid, no bananas, run out
No mess, no sand, no stones, no sticks

The place our love lives is an organic place
It stares at the sea, between the storms
It walks towards log cabins in snowy mountains
And wonders at six-sided flakes
It travels to see twisted, cavernous rocks
And runs from fast-flying beetles
It needs water, and mud, and wood, and leaves
And suns and moons and birds and trees

The place our love lives is a quickly accessed place
When there’s Peppa Pig
Or silence in long car drives
Or a brotherly hug
Or cheese and wine and a double sleep in a bike trailer
Or time for Mad Men and an armchair for the feet

We will nurture those places
Overfeed the little moments of present
Channel the long ago
And then, when there’s more room to breathe
If there’s more room to breathe
Will there be more room to breathe?
It will return, in full, fuller, to live with us again, within us
To hold hands, embrace, as a four this time
With two, who are one, at the heart of it all

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