If I was being dramatic I would say that the air smells of blood, it probably
should but it doesn’t, in fact, given what has happened, there is relatively
little blood in sight. There is an acrid taste in my mouth but it’s not blood,
my senses aren’t overloaded with its distinctive metallic quality, it is the far
more familiar taste of bile. I watch her sitting there, comforting Gabby, the
porch light causing her hair to look like a halo and her face awash with colour
as her skin gives a home to the flashing lights from the emergency vehicles and
I am again awed at her beauty, at her perfection, but it’s not enough to keep my
anger in check. I hate her tonight, not quite as much as I love her, but still
the hate is there. It shouldn’t be, she has done nothing wrong, she has been
nothing but a model wife – even though I was angry with her I knew that she
wasn’t intentionally trying to show me up in front of the senior partners, that
thought would never have crossed her mind, she had an idea and once that brain
of hers has been put into gear, she’s like an out of control locomotive, she
couldn’t stop herself even if she wanted to and while my ego did take a bashing
when she stole my thunder, that’s not why I hate her - I don’t hate her for
being smarter than me, I don’t hate her for being better than me, as cruel and
strange as it sounds, I hate her for being vulnerable. It kills me that she
somehow thinks she’s inadequate, I meant it when I told her that I thought she
was a great wife and mother, I guess that she was so used to being extraordinary
that being merely great at something doesn’t compare. I hate her for losing her
perspective and I hate myself for doing this to her.
I stand here, like some pointless statue, watching the display of human misery in front of me like it’s some sort of macabre after-dinner theatre, I wouldn’t feel so guilty about this if my wife were standing beside me but she has a role and I am left here like a vulture preying on my neighbours’ grief. Not that I resent her comforting Gabrielle, or that she did it without a second thought, what I resent is the fact that Bree Van De Kamp said jump and my aggressive spitfire of a wife did so instantly. I don’t want Lynette to feel inferior to anyone and especially not to the robotic creature that lives across the street.
I used to find it laughable that Lynette would even worry what Bree would think, Bree might be able to make her home look like it’s a page from House and Garden but that’s not something that I ever thought Lynette would even care about. When I met her, she was on the fast track, she was the wunderkind of the advertising world and I was more than a little in awe of her, sometimes I still find it hard to believe that she picked me – I know that she took a ribbing over it and I know that many of our esteemed colleagues tried to tell her that she was wasting her life by giving up her career to have my children and I guess I have lived in fear that one day she will decide that the sacrifice has been too great and that she can’t do this anymore. Watching her tonight it was so obvious what she has given up, and how much she misses that world, that I have to wonder what she would give to feel special again.
I’ve had these thoughts a lot, I’ve always worried that I wouldn’t be good enough to keep her, Lynette is a shark and I’ve tried to stop her swimming, I have tried to cage her and tame her and it may just end up destroying her. Things have gotten worse lately, someone has managed to cast an even larger shadow of doubt on my marriage than the one I had created myself and I really could have done without the assistance. It all started a few months ago when, for reasons best known to them, the neighbourhood elite decided that we all needed to know one another better and a block party was organised. This being Wisteria Lane it was not casual affair, official permission was sort to shut off the street and the road was dotted with large marquees sheltering tables covered in white linen housing an array of elaborate, but to my mind far from party friendly, food and there was even a string quartet – there really is no mistaking the Van De Kamp touch but at least there was an open bar. Penny was asleep in the pram, the boys were running around out of control and Lynette was off mingling when an arm snaked around my waist and snatched the margarita from my hand. I turned to find myself face to face with our own little resident man eater, things must have been slow for Edie Britt to feel the need to try her so called charms on me but I wasn’t exactly in the mood for an encounter with her, “Do you mind?”
She placed her index finger in her mouth and then slowly traced it around the edge of my glass before returning the digit to her mouth to lick it clean, “Hello, salty goodness, no I don’t mind at all.” She then attempted to offer my glass back to me.
“You can keep it.”
“So how is it that you find yourself standing all alone? Not that I blame you, this whole thing is kind of dreary.”
“Maybe you should volunteer yourself for the organising committee next year.”
“Oh honey,” she replied with a false laugh accompanied by a hand running itself down my arm, “this neighbourhood couldn’t handle the kind of party that I would throw.”
“So why would you even bother to come?”
“If I am not here, people will only talk about me and if they want to talk about me I intend to give them reasons to do so, it’s so much more fun to have actually committed the sins that everyone wants to condemn you for.” To the last part she added a wink for emphasis and stepped closer to me.
“If that’s the case you are barking up the wrong tree, you and I will not be generating any gossip of note.”
“Really? I would have thought that given that your wife is otherwise engaged you would be in need of some liberation, you don’t have to be a monk you know Tom and I would be a whole lot better than your right hand or does Lynette over service you out of guilt? God, no wonder she looks haggard and tired all the time.”
“There is nothing wrong with my marriage and how dare you say such things about my wife, if she looks tired it’s because she’s raising four children.”
“Well she doesn’t do that alone does she?”
“I am away a bit, it’s not easy on her.”
“I don’t think you need to worry about her being lonely, she’s got that all sorted out.”
“We may generate some gossip after all, I was raised never to hit a lady but I am pretty sure that you don’t qualify and if you question my wife’s scruples one more time I will hit you.”
She didn’t even look remotely concerned, “If you want to live in denial that’s just fine but if you ever change your mind the offer is always there.”
“I won’t be availing myself of the offer but out of curiosity just who is my wife meant to be cheating on me with?”
“You really are clueless,” she replied with a lot of genuine pity on her face, “I actually find that kind of attractive and you are reasonably cute and obviously virile,” once again she had narrowed the gap between us, “so I guess the Ice Queen must go off like a firecracker in the sack.” She ended with a toss of her head towards Lynette and Bree who were sitting close together and appeared to be whispering conspiratorially to one another.
Since that night I have been somewhat unhealthily obsessed about my wife’s relationship with our austere neighbour. Sometimes I find the idea of there being anything untoward going on between them ridiculous but at other times it seems like the only logical explanation – why else would she be so desperate to please Bree? Why else would she even spend time with Bree? I know the women in our neighbourhood aren’t the sort of people that Lynette would normally be friends with but in her old life Lynette would have hated Bree, she would have mocked and ridiculed her, which isn’t to say that she doesn’t do that now but the worrying thing about that is how Bree allows her to do it, as though it is some sort of private joke that the two of them share. It doesn’t help that my parents gave me first hand experience of the casual way in which marriage vows can be broken or that I was seeing Annabelle when I met Lynette and at that time fidelity wasn’t apparently a high priority for either of us. I can never completely convince myself that there is anything going on though, there is the major stumbling block of that fact that it would mean that Bree was actually having sex and that just seems too messy and distasteful for her to be involved with, until now I had always suspected that her children might have been the result immaculate conception.
Sometimes I try to test her and I have to admit that it doesn’t exactly warm my heart that she was panicking about tonight’s dinner party and then went ahead with it once I compared her to Bree or that she found a way to go to Bree’s latest soiree without me – that last one is a major sore point, she looked sensational that night and while most of me thinks that she just loved the idea of dressing up and not having to be in mother mode, there is a small, scared voice that tells me that it’s more than that, that that dress was for Bree. You know I have always jokingly told my friends that I would be more than happy if my wife was up for a threesome, it is after all the subject of some of the best porn that I have ever owned, sadly the reality doesn’t seem to have a lot in common with my fantasy life – for starters, Bree is not really my first choice, in fact of the neighbourhood she would be my last choice (this is something that has me questioning my wife’s taste, which I guess has implications for me as well, given that I am the man that she chose to marry) and I also get the feeling that it wouldn’t be quite like the movies, I suspect that Bree would be bossing us around, checking if our hands were clean and placing plastic over the bed before we started and as unappealing as that would be, it is not the thing that frightens me, what am terrified of is the possibility that Lynette would ignore me and look at Bree with love and lust in her eyes. I may be able to almost convince myself that there is nothing physical going on, I watch them, I look for lingering glances, for stray touches, for gazes held just a little too long and I don’t see it, well at least no more than in her interactions with the other women of the street. What I do see is the way my wife lights up when Bree enters a room and the look of regret she has when Bree leaves and I know that whatever the nature of their physical relationship, it doesn’t matter because, even if she doesn’t know it herself, Lynette is in love with Bree. Sometimes I think it would be easier if they were just having sex. So I guess the real question becomes what do I do with my new found knowledge and the answer is nothing – she is more than worth it, more than I deserve, more than I ever dreamed of, so I will be there as long as she will have me, even if it means spending the rest of my life praying that she will never realise that the answer to the questions that haunts me – I hear her voice over and over in my head asking me, “Are we happy?” – is “No”.
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