The large clock on the wall in the sitting room marks out time. Cora sits on the sofa, a book open in her lap. The house is quiet: empty. She is supposed to enjoy this emptiness, revel in the depths of the peace, the space, as if it were a hot spring she could sink herself into. As her husband left the house with the children he kissed her and said,
‘Have a little time to yourself, Darling. It’ll do you good. Perhaps open a bottle of wine or something. Go for a walk, watch a film. We’ll be back around seven…Ok, take care. We love you.’
Sitting there, she feels time should open up before her, as if a gate were thrown wide revealing an expanse that she could disappear inside, but it doesn’t. It closes off, constricts as sure as a snare. They have gone for the day, he has driven them over to his sister’s house, where they will play with their cousins, shouting, dirty-faced yelps of excitement, running garden dirt through his patient sister’s house; she is a doting mother, their aunt, her sister-in-law. His parents will be there – the grandparents, the heads of the family. There will be absolute harmony. She won’t be missed, she is sure of that.
Everything is demarcated, a territory, a place, the family, love, even sex. All relationships are territorial, marked off, divided from all the others, outsiders, instating privacy. There is no such thing as time only geometry, topography, the delineation of words, shared interests, history. The only unity Cora can understand is spatial. She consists of spaces, gaps between matter, she slips between time. She takes up space on the sofa. Breathing.