and there was my baby
Magda wakes to a cold, empty bed, and sighs. He’s probably stayed up all night studying, she thinks, probably hasn’t even noticed that it’s been dark and is light again. She gets up to slip on her clothing, then pads out into the main room.
Which is empty. Her husband’s books and papers are strewn over the table, a controlled explosion that doesn’t reach beyond those bounds of the table’s edges, but there is no man to match them. Peering hopefully into the kitchen, she is again disappointed.
He’ll be back soon, she tells herself, because he always is, and no one knows better than her how restless Magnus is, but there’s a twinge of worry anyway, born of waking up to entirely more permanent disappearances. Sighing, she trips down the hall to check on Anya, with no intention of waking her up—she’d slept through the night for the first time in weeks, and Magda is not going to second-guess a gift like that.
As she enters the baby’s room, she raises a hand to her mouth to hide an uncontrollable smile and the beginnings of a giggle. Be very quiet, she thinks, because she’s located her husband: asleep in the chair by the door with his daughter. Anya is lying over Magnus’ chest, undisturbed by the slow rise and fall of his breathing. He has one hand under her, supporting her, and the other lying splay-fingered on her back, dwarfing her. Her head rests in the crook of his neck, and Magda wonders if the soft, light baby hair brushing against his jaw bothers him at all.
He looks peaceful when he sleeps, she thinks, not nearly as driven or absent or brooding as he usually is whilst awake. His hair has come out of its combed neatness, flopping over his eyes, and his mouth is slightly agape in a quiet snore.
Anya’s expression is almost exactly the same. Magda suppresses another giggle.
So this was why she slept through the night, she thinks, beaming like she’s not sure she has in a while. She can imagine it perfectly—Magnus slipping in, late, late, late, dark in the room, and picking up his daughter and rocking her in the chair until they both fell asleep.
Magda slips down the wall next to his chair and sits there, looking up at the square line of his chin and the child tucked beneath it; eventually, she leans over so that her cheek presses into the wooden arm of the chair and just stays there, cross-legged. The soft touch wakes him—he’s never been a heavy sleeper—but it’s a slow wake, and a quiet one, a simple opening of eyes and the registering of a heavy warmth on his chest and the rustle of a body near his knee.
Glancing down, careful not to move his head, he sees Magda, and she notices the gentle shift in his breathing and looks up quietly to meet his downcast eyes, unsurprised when he suddenly looks very guilty.
Still holding down the edges of a smile, she rises, kissing him briefly—careful not to disturb her—and exits the room, leaving him there with his still-sleeping daughter.
He looks a little embarrassed when he emerges a few minutes later, but she doesn’t think he needs to be.