I pace the floors counting milliseconds in macro until a reaction. Her passivity winds the little key in the back of my head that makes every increment ache. When I stop her stillness escalates, frozen in poised defence. I feel the itching shiver of churning gears in a grist free mill. I try and force my pacing into patience, sit, try waiting, but my skin is so coiled I can sense the life vibrating out of my grasp. Finally, her voice is pendulous and flat. ‘If you’re restless,’ she says, ‘maybe you should do something.’ A metronome in vacuum.

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