A dark haired toddler stands next to me and whimpers. It’s dark and I pull him in to the bed quickly in an effort to avoid waking his dad, my husband. As he settles between us, he becomes a she - a little older and clamping her chief confidant under one arm, a partially-stuffed soft toy that carries the kind of layer of dirt that only comes from being truly loved. As I roll on to my side, the soft toy is suddenly a plastic truck that digs in to my ribs and she is now once again a he, far younger and this time almost blonde. Laying star-shaped between us he emits the warm and delicious scent of a sleeping child and I breath it in.
Living with the ghosts of children I never got to have is proving to be a challenge. I am walking through life with one eye and one foot in a parallel universe. I stand up straight but I haven’t yet found the trick to this balancing act and for now I walk on with a limp, only perceptible to those paying close attention.