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I am here

Laura Cooney

You hold my hand in the dark, tiny fingers, looking for surety.

I am here.

It is the pumpkin hour if you believe in fairy tales but here we are, in no fairytale, on the mattress on the floor in the dark. No pillows.

Your curled up little body needs me and I need you. You cannot know what an anchor you are. Without you I’d billow out into the midnight sky and be gone. It wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing. You ground me.

I listen to your uneven and heavy mouth-breathing and am jealous of how deeply you sleep. How little there is in your head to keep you awake and I while I know that is right, the way it’s meant to be, I am jealous of your tiny head. And though I wish peace  all your life I know it is unlikely but I wish it all the same. I am barely protecting you from reality now, so there is no hope really.

Midnight, dark o’clock and still. Things always seem worse in the sleepless night. Don’t they? I should not hide under the blanket and reach out to anyone right now. With the right word from the other side I may just lose what dignity I have left. It’s sparse, but it’s keeping me afloat on this mattress boat in the Sea of Room, where I, the Captain, lie with my anchor as we sail off on an adventure to Morning. That’s how we’ve made it, but its really an island and there is no way off it. I’m trapped here and one day, you’ll leave me. I’ll make you a raft and push you off. I will.

I check the phone. The light flickers under the duvet.

Speak out?


Hang on.

Till Morning.

There are no hours longer than those after midnight. It’s three whole days till morning and I lie here awake your tiny hand in my hand. I am here. I am here.

Laura Cooney (she/her) is a writer from Edinburgh, Scotland. Her most recent publications online and in print are in Heartbalm, Vine Leaves Press, Short Story Today, Kobayaashi Studios, Buzgaga, Roi Faineant, Spare Parts Lit and The Unconventional Courier. She can be found on Twitter and instagram @lozzawriting and on her blog When she's not doing 'lots of writing' you'll find her outdoors with her children as close to the sea as possible. There will be ice-cream!

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