Rituals

The house is always quietest after the baby finishes her morning feed. I breathe in the stillness around me, letting it fill my lungs, settle in my chest. I should try and sleep a bit more. I slip out of the door, wincing as it rasps over the thick bedroom carpet.

I step lightly as I make my way down the hall to the kitchen, dodging the duplo brick obstacle course left out by my eldest. Still no sound of crying children, and anxious not to wake them up I lift the mug down from the mug tree carefully, wincing at every clink. The kettle gently begins to roar, but I’ve made it this far.

The smell from the steaming cup of tea curls around my head. I can feel my shoulders dropping, my face relaxing slightly, as I sink into the armchair, and take the first sip. Outside, the blackbirds in the hedge wake up, and begin their warning chorus, making sure the neighbour’s cat keeps away. Each sigh of the fabric on the armchair, or chirrup outside, or crack of the house waking up sounds like a baby crying to me, but I try to ignore it, and take another sip, rubbing one grainy eye.

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