Other People's Children

Viggo has a snapshot of Molly and Lorna on his fridge, their backs turned to the camera, leaning over a wide kitchen table and decorating Christmas cookies. They both have icing in their hair, falling in pink and green tendrils to their cheeks, and Lorna has a smudge on the back of her neck where it looks like she's reached around to scratch at the tag sticking up out of her T-shirt.

There's more icing on the table than on the cookies, fingerprints smeared into it as they braced themselves on the edge of the table to reach the bell-shaped cookies on the far side of the tray, now half-decorated in yellow and blue and red and green. Viggo imagines the fronts of their T-shirts smudged with every colour they could concoct.

In the shadows in the back of the picture, in the back of the kitchen, are glints of tinsel framing the doorway, and the glow of strings of lights from the other room reflected in a frost-edged mirror, twinkling like distant stars.

On one side the photograph overlaps a picture of Henry, proudly showing off his new rollerblades, grubby hand thrust towards the camera and a huge gap-toothed smile on his face. On the other side, a picture of Evie in Sean's arms, looking impossibly small.

It's Sean's favourite picture of his girls, and Viggo knows the moment he brings it over and tacks it up on the fridge with a magnet shaped like a pineapple that Sean is there to stay.