Noah has a full agenda at the moment: it is summer, he is nearly two, his eyes and mind are booked up from wake to sleep with things to consider. But baby Finn is still unhooked. He gazes and grazes and dozes and every so often, Noah’s divine features swim into his view and slide into focus. The intensity of this experience organises itself across his face; his eyes widen and climb toward Noah’s eyes, the baby muscles of his face stretch to allow the new happiness a way out, his teeth are not yet hatched, there is just a line of pink gums. His feet expand and point toward heaven, which is Noah.
All day Sunday and no news.
Everyone who visits the shop today must stand and listen to my news; that there is no news. One couple went up Jeff’s Books and told Caitlin that there is no real news. Nevertheless, Caitlin offers to help me out when there is news. But still there is no news.
More visitors came in after lunch and asked me for this book and that book but I didn’t help them. I just told them my lack of news. One old lady forgot about the books she wanted and weighed in with enthusiasm. She applied consolation, saying that babies come when they want and never before.
Finn William Hood came in at 8.01 pm on Sunday night just when he wanted to, small as a dot and caught by his parents and swooped into a family of three, now four.
I visited and held the smallness and the folded up boneless limbs and the soft womb position they still assume. He drinks with eyes open and eyes shut, eyes flickering with living and milk and noise falling everywhere, Noah, still a baby and now a brother, leaning over and tapping gently the forehead and their infant eyes meeting for a fleeting, inerasable portion of one second, and then Finn asleep again.
Photography by Elsa Hood
A little boy asked me this morning if I remembered him coming in before with his mum and dad and getting a book called Dr Zeus and also getting a book about a cat. He reminded me with a certain joy that I took a photo of them standing there with their books, him and his brother. He reminded me that his brother does not read that many books now as he plays cricket. He is pretty good at cricket. He is a fast man.
I did remember. It was a long time ago. Those small boys lined up next to each other at the counter, their eyes were lamps, their books certain tiles of gold spread carefully in front of me so that I was aware of the incoming joy.
This time they chose different books, after all they were older now, grown up almost, they were reading about dinosaurs and cricket and Star Wars. They brought the books to the counter and their eyes were like lamps and I was aware of the incoming joy.