Rays of light inched across the ceiling dissipating the shadows in their path, over the night the dark tendrils have been lengthening and morphing, engaging in a silent ballet but now they seemed to be cowering in the face of the onslaught of dawn. She is not sure whether to see the change as a welcome intrusion or the acknowledgement of her failure, the confirmation that sleep has again eluded her. She has monitored the progress of the shadows, fixating on their movements to avoid looking at the clock – she knows the minutes have been eroding away but was able to minimize their passing in her mind so long as she didn’t have empirical evidence of the fact. Not for the first time she was pleased that the alarm clock is digital and that, at least in this room, the ticking is only metaphorical.
The night has managed to be simultaneously both long and difficult and far too short. Birds are being to sound the arrival of morning and she knows that she has very little time until her own animals will be awake and demanding attention, she shudders at the thought of forcing herself through another day. There really was something to be said for the boy’s stimulants, she can remember the sense of clarity and purpose that they brought with ease and it frightens her that she has to force herself to remember how intolerable the crash was.
Her body aches from making herself lie still but having Tom in the bed doesn’t allow for the tossing and turning that she would normally employ. She remembers when they bought the bed, they had joked about the fact that they didn’t need one so large as when they were awake they needed a fire hose to separate them and when they slept it was in one another’s arms but now she finds she can’t move far enough away – her left arm is numb from hanging over the edge and if she moved any further she would be on the ground and still the distance between the two of them isn’t enough.
She glances at Tom, resentful and yet somehow relieved to note that his breathing remains deep and even. She wonders what will happen to them if he finds out what she has done. She knows he’ll be angry but is relatively sure that she will be able to convince him of her motives – after all she sacrificed a successful career for him and it is not entirely unreasonable of her to want him to spend more time with the children. It is doubtful that he would ever guess the true reasons behind her actions, she simply couldn’t allow him to take the promotion, couldn’t afford for him to be spending more time away from home, couldn’t trust what she would do if he receded further into the background of her life. There is a chance that her deception may have destroyed their marriage but she is more that willing to weigh this against what she sees as the absolute certainty that their relationship will end if he spends more time away than he currently does. She used to worry that Tom would stray, that she would no longer be enough, that running the house and raising the children rendered her haggard and that he would eventually be tempted by someone he met on the road. She never imagined that it would be her that would be tempted, or that the source would lie so close to home.
She feels dirty thinking about that while lying beside Tom but the reality is that she can’t control her thoughts. The image of the other women invades her mind and haunts her dreams. In a way it is better that she hasn’t slept, she doesn’t know if she could handle the guilt of waking up next to Tom knowing that she has spent the night dreaming about Bree. She’s uncomfortable with the frequency with which she dreams about Bree as it is – dreams that she is reluctant to describe as erotic but unfortunately has been unable to find another adjective that is remotely suitable. She realizes, with alarm, that she hadn’t even thought about the potential consequence of Tom hearing her call out Bree’s name while she sleeps, she places that on the list of things that are contributing to her insomnia and is starting to think that she may never sleep again.
Adding to her growing assortment of problems is that fact that things are decidedly strained between Bree and herself right now. She marvels at her own denial, that she was able to spend so much time focusing on Bree’s feelings and intentions whilst completely ignoring her own. She tries to convince herself that she didn’t really mean to kiss Bree, that she was simply testing what Bree’s response would be but her dreams and that fact that she has found herself feeling empty inside since Bree has distanced herself firmly suggest otherwise. She worries that she has ruined their friendship forever – Bree is cordial to her and attends the poker game and other communal gatherings but has clearly avoided being alone with her since that night. Her own response has surprised her, it seems that she remains incapable of confronting Bree but she has noticed herself standing closer and going out of her way to ensure that she sits next to her, anything to feel a sense of oneness, no matter how small. She thinks that image of Bree holding Penny may be that most beautiful thing that she has ever seen – Bree seemed so happy to take the baby that day despite of, or maybe because of, the fact that Penny was the one who had interrupted their would be kiss. It pains her to think that she wanted the kiss more than Bree did but she is sure that look of regret on Bree’s face as she left that night was genuine.
She knows that she is at a crossroads but in unsure of what path she should take – the well worn one leads to security but banality whilst the other leads to somewhere where she may not be happy, may not even be content but where maybe she could be more, something other than a phantom, a pale imitation of the women she used to be but she’s unfamiliar with this route, the surface is uneven, there is no compass and there is every chance that if she takes this road she could lose both Bree and Tom. Her thoughts are interrupted as Tom rolls over, groaning as he drapes an arm across her. He looks at her with sleep filled eyes and mumbles a greeting that she guesses translates to, “Good morning, Lynette,” and so the day begins. She pushes her hopes and fears and Bree Van De Kamp to the back of her mind as best she can and resumes her role as mother and wife. She lets her autopilot kick in as she reaches up to kiss Tom and begins going though the motions of a woman satisfied with her life - she thinks she should be able to manage that, at least until tonight.
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