In the other universe I went into reception class and helped out because they were one member of staff down. While he got through the dreaded tribunal and typically did a fantastic job although he unpicked it later and beat himself up about some of the elements.

And in the spring the fear of redundancy came nearer and we lost many hours to the worry and worked through innumerable plans and options. But we ploughed on, created contingencies and battled our way through the stress.

And we continued to be puzzled by the leak in the car and still didn’t get to the bottom of it.

And redundancy was escaped this time round but it was only a matter of time with new clouds never that far away.

And he struggled with the piano music for his birthday. We knew it was beyond him and our son but it had to be bought and they had to try. And the connection with his Mum ran through the scores and surrounded them both when they played.

And the summer was peppered with days out making way for the late holiday in Northumbria. And we cheered loudly at the experience when the voucher was redeemed. And he cheered when our son learned to swim and was so proud as he took to the blues. And in assembly only we knew the significance of the piece he’d chosen.

And he disbelieved with me that Year 6 had arrived. And he grilled the Heads in his special way as we chose the next school for our son. We settled on our first choice anyway and talked about the next phase. And we wondered how it would be when he started secondary and we watched him growing up and away.

And the in-law issues took their familiar course and Christmas was negotiated as usual.

And we teased him over the approaching big birthday and he implied, with no subtlty, that it should be like the 40th and between me and our son we did a great job.

And everything ticked along under a normal sky with all the ephemera and mundane minutia of a life lived in a real lane. And we continued to make plans like you did and we thought of the future and how it would be. And we worried about things that may never happen and normality stretched out in front of us in an endlessly comfortable comforting road, well trodden, signposted and safe.

And tonight I tried to find something to cook, glad it was half term with days off. And we needed to use the days well and had something planned for tomorrow.

And there was ordinary, there was usual, there was life, there was us, there was family, there was growth, there was time.

In this other Eden
there was all of it
nettles you could roll in

his rainless painless sky

Everything, our world

In the other universe
where he didn’t wake me in the middle of the night



The unrelenting sun refracts itself in pinpoints on the hard black shiny beads. Cushioned coal in the toy elephants face. The universe in his mum’s ring pulls me in deeper showing colours we can’t understand. The nap separates into spaces in the uncompromising light, microscopic chasms, losing myself in the fur. I can’t look it in the eye I can only watch the reflection calling me, but as the flashbacks trip and ambush me I drop away from here to there in the photons that hold the connection.

The shadow edges over the back of my hand, the sun warms the side of my face as our son calls up the stairs.


Avalanche nature’s force

Surging energy batters

New shoots underneath