"We should try again," Curtis said quietly as he cradled Helen tenderly. He smelled her hair, kissed the top of her ear just as she nestled her back more snugly against his front.
Below them, the city was going about its regular business. Sirens, hooters, taxis and passersby. The habitual tumult of the metropolis. Helen looks at landscape – skyscrapers everywhere. She longed for flatness. Sand. Silence. In her mind, she could hear it – the sound of the world that was growing inside her, like a gestation. A pregnancy of another sort.
"It won't work," she whispered, but the roar of silence was growing inside her. Pushing between her ears, it stifled the urban ruckus and covered her husband's voice.
Sand. Vast expanses of smooth landscapes and blue skies. Silence.
She was there for a long time, alone. One day he came and sat next to her. For a time, they said nothing, leaning against one another.
Then, she spoke, and Curtis was relieved to hear his wife's voice for the first time in months.
"We should try again," she said quietly, her head leaned onto his shoulder. Around them, the world was crumbling a little.
"Here?" It was barely a groan in his voice, but she knew he couldn't refuse her.
Her reply came, breathed like an evidence. "Where else?"
He shook his head, sighed and said nothing more for a bit, before he reached and tilted her face toward him. No words were necessary to convey his agreement – he just brushed his lips against hers.
"You are 2," she told him. "I am 2," he repeated.
In Manhattan, a woman was walking in a waking dream, murmuring things to herself, but no-one interrupted her slow walk through the Summakor offices.
In the Village, a woman was sleeping as a young man appeared out of thin air, dressed in pale and comfortable clothes. He knelt to tie his untidy shoelaces – white Converse shoes, though there was no trademark to identify them.
"Well, 11-12," a voice came from behind. "Wandering off again, are we?"
The woman sat in a black leather chair, but her eyes were empty and dazed, as if she was in another world. Next to her, the CEO of Summakor sat. He took her hand, squeezed it, and she smiled faintly.
"I'm not lost," 11-12 replied, not as flippantly as he wished. "I just went for a walk. Can I see my mother, now?" And his father took him to see his mother, but M2 was sleeping, eyes closed to the world, but only on the outside.
Sitting in the leather chair, Helen bit her lip for no apparent reason. Her husband sighed, opened a note and read it for the umpteenth time. The word burned his eyes every time he read it.