She's on the couch, her body curled around a smaller one that's seated her lap. Her back is against the armrest, her legs tucked under, the soles of her feet facing the telly.
she presses her lips to the crown of the tiny girl's head,
Brushes wisps of hair away from the girls face and tucks it behind her ears.
The late November air has found its way through the blinds, and Michael Buble's bonus Christmas CD is playing in the background.
The walls are lined with shelves- DVDs, VCDs and Video Tapes arranged according to Genre and within each genre, alphabetical order.
The light quilt covering the two of them is a deep, velvety red- knitted by her mother.
She looks up as the door to the room creaks open, smiles and mouths a hello to her as the girl in her lap stirs and settles against the older one's chest. Her tiny hand unfurls to reveal a smooth small stone, with the markings of a ladybird painted on.
"She made this for you today," she says, taking the stone out of the little girl's hand.
The newcomer seats herself down gingerly, careful not to wake the little one.
Outside, there's the sound of sparrows, of the neighbour's sprinklers going off. There's the sharp ring of a bicycle bell and the crunch of gravel as someone's car pulls into their driveway.
She reaches over and rests her hand on the other's knee; Palm-up. She readjusts herself, inching closer just the slightest bit,
And slips her hand into the other's; their fingers fitting comfortably into spaces.
The early evening smells like Christmas, sounds like home.
In other homes there's the clink of glasses, the clatter of silverware as drawers are pulled open, the sizzle of oil in pans and the breath of cans being opened.
It's almost dinner, almost. And there'll be time for that.
But in the meantime,
They sit, with the weight of a tiny girl between them, to the calm that is Michael Buble's Christmas crooning.
They sit, in the comfort of the couch they'd picked out together,
With work miles away.
in the familiarity that is each other, and the joy of a ladybug-looking stone.