She made that face when he said it, the one that reminded him of his mother. He took a deep breath and tried to keep his tone even. What came out was script swiped straight from the old man.
“Who in their right mind wants to come home to this!” he bellowed.
She watched him from the couch. The baby was nursing on her lap; the fullness of her breast burst free of her shirt and smothered the sleeping pinkness. He could remember when such softness was meant for him: her warm weight pressed against his face. She had not touched him since the hospital.
“Got it out of your system?” He didn’t respond. “Good, then you can change the diaper.” She held the wrinkly bundle out. The baby looked peaceful wrapped so tightly in its blanket. He knew exactly how long that would last.
The little body writhed, its screams rattling the changing table. The pad was already drenched with piss. There was a violent looking rash between the legs. The warmer stood empty and overturned to the side, the last wet-one used. Another deep breath as he watched his baby wail against the world.
A hand touched him on the shoulder. He felt the fingertips reach past his collar and trace the skin of his neck.
“We need you, you know,” she said. He knew. He opened his hand and she gave him a wipe.
“She’s beautiful,” he nodded and decided to let the rash air itself out.