Every day is the same
when looking straight ahead;
caught in the safety of routine
When you wake in an unfamiliar bed, it takes you a moment to remember where you are. When you do, it takes less than a second for awareness to sink like a stone to the pit of your stomach.
You throw back the bedcovers before you convince yourself that you cannot do this. Just as you did yesterday morning, and the morning before that.
Once on your feet, you seek refuge in mindless routine. Icy water splashed on your face, hair pulled back in a tight knot, clothes dragged on in the half-light. In two minutes' time – just like yesterday and the day before that - the pavement will be solid beneath your feet.
And you'll run.
You'll run, just you and the blue-pink dawn sky and the morning chorus of birds, just as you would if you were at home. You'll tell yourself that you're fine, that something inside you doesn't wither and die with every passing hour you have to spend in this unfamiliar house, that you can do this. You'll run and you'll think of the end game, not about him or her or the child or the fact that your resolve is cracking a little more each day. You'll run and you'll sweat and you'll hope that by the time you stagger back through the front door, some of the poison will have seeped from your thoughts and your heart.
There's no reason why it shouldn't. After all, it did yesterday, and the day before that.
This morning, however, you find Michael's wife – his beautiful, elegant, innocent wife – waiting for you in their tastefully appointed kitchen. She gives you a sweet smile and asks if she can come running with you. You smile and nod and say the right words, telling her that that would be nice, you'd be grateful for the company. Watching as she writes a note for her husband – still asleep in her bed, their bed – you try not to notice the myriad of kisses she bestows on the paper. You suck in a tight breath as the poison burns into your heart, clawing at your gut, and you see your familiar routine for the illusion it truly is.