The countdown

Ten ways of asking nicely.

Nine times to lie and watch the starry ceiling.

Eight places to cut a wedding cake.

Seven houses on a cloche-work hill.

Six years of smiling at small smiles, feeling sadness.

Five thin lines: new, blue, and most untrue.

Four white sticks, thrown in anger.

Three by three long months of prayer, of sleepless nights and sickening scares, of switching lights off and on and off and on and off and on – just in case.

Two anxious faces, hovering, fretting, trying to keep pride hidden, in case, in case.

One new laugh in the world.

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