I find my daughter under things. Curled asleep cat-like under the mattress. Humming in the linen box with the lid closed. Sitting cross-legged beneath a nest of coats in my wardrobe, listening to a snippet of song on repeat.
She feels safe in these places, a break from the clatter and confusion of life.
It’s an autistic thing I say, because that is what I’m used to saying.
Then the world seems to spin too fast, voices too loud, work too hard, future too uncertain, and I stumble under a tiredness that stretches from my head to my soul.
I crawl into her bed in the stillness of a rare morning alone. With the duvet wrapped over my head, I feel the press of it as a kind, firm hold. As the chatter of my brain slows into sanctuary, I pull the covers tighter, open-eyed to enjoy the lack of light.
In this place-that-is-no-place, I am closer to her without moving.
Stephanie Carty is a writer and Clinical Psychologist in the UK. stephaniecarty.com
Image: supplied by the author