‘Well,’ I say to RM, as the clock wheezes past 11.30pm. ‘Looks like it’s that time again.’
‘That time when we head to the ensuite and brush our teeth as we stare at each other in the mirror – our toothpaste slathered mouths open like smiling chimps all crazed up with rabies – slur-talking our way through some important tasks on our mental to-do list for tomorrow, before moaning into bed saying, ‘How can it be almost midnight again’ and experiencing the first minute of eye-rolling face-against-pillow pleasure like we’re junkies slumped against each other after that longed-for hit, holding on to consciousness just long enough to cuddle-frot some warmth into our pyjamas so that I get an erection and you say something like, ‘Well, hello’ before we fall asleep for, I don’t know, maybe only minutes, until there comes the sound of bare feet slapping rapidly down the hallway’s floorboards and there we’ll be, involuntarily lifting our knees and bracing our abdomens for the impact of Tyson as he launches himself for the warm secure centre of us, forcing us to opposite borders of our massive bed and committing us to stay there for the rest of the night. And even though we’ll hug our gorgeous child for several minutes to settle him, we’ll eventually turn over and face separate walls to protect ourselves from his crazy bucking and thrashing but that won’t stop you from getting smacked in the eye at least once and me waking up two or more times with a dull ache in my balls. Then, if I’m lucky, I’ll wake only one more time before six AM to Tyson whispering, ‘I need to go wee’, or, if I’m unlucky I’ll wake confused and disorientated after a long dream about eating wet Tiramisu, or riding an unshorn sheep through a torrential rain storm, to find that I’m actually drenched in boy urine. The usual quiet, whispery threading of melatonin-dulled limbs through dry pyjamas will follow and after laying down towels on my side of our giant bed I’ll carry Tyson back to his and Maki’s room and crawl into a single bed that, to me, seems so small it makes me think of those wads of tissues dentists use to plug the bleeding hole left after a tooth removal, and I’ll fall asleep again fully aware that I’ll be waking in all kinds of pain. When I hear ‘Daddy, it’s time to get up,’ I’ll know it’s six am without even looking at a clock and will immediately start singing ‘She’s So Perfect’ by Five Seconds of Summer, to keep Tyson quiet, as I slowly turn the painful crick out of my neck and slap the feeling back into my left arm and then I’ll rise like Frankenstein’s Monster, wide eyed and stiff as a carcass, before we hit the kitchen together where I’ll skol a coffee and when Tyson says, ‘Dad, can I play iPad?’ I’ll say ‘No, why don’t you start drawing with these funny colourful sticks called pencils’ and he’ll say, ‘I wanna play iPad’ and I’ll say ‘No’ and…
‘Oh, that time,’ Tania says.