A small, black-haired boy sleeps on my arm these days.
My head is on the pillow – his pillow is the softest part of my triceps and the pad of fat accompanying it. His little head is cushioned softly, his soft hair tickling me under my chin. My arm is thrown out always to accompany his little head, the other one sometimes locked over him in a protective loop, sometimes held away, on my side.
This little warm bundle of flesh that was once a part of me. His skin is the indiscriminate colour of very young children – neither dark nor light. He resembles his father, although to his black hair both of us contributed. His breathing is noiseless and sometimes in sync with my own.
His age varies. Sometimes he is a downy-haired newborn, his pink wrinkled face still prune-like from being bathed so long. Sometimes he is a healthy one-year-old, whose shock of hair tickles me and whose sleeping face I trace out features on, allocating them to their respective ancestries. Sometimes he is between these two ages.
He never varies though. My little black-haired boy, asleep on my arm. When my eyes crack open in the middle of the night – I can see his little form and, reassured, I fall asleep again. I barely move all night for fear of disturbing him.
NB – I don’t have any children, at least not yet, not in this lifetime.