Kitty sits in the kitchen, her hands wrapped around the steaming mug of coffee. Its warmth steadies her and eases the trembling in her fingers. She looks at Laura for a moment, her breath hitching at the way the light from the window casts a glow upon her copper hair, and it’s the most beautiful thing Kitty has ever seen. The beauty of it is almost too much to bear and she looks back down at her coffee, watching as the steam unfurls above the surface of the beverage.
These mornings that they spend together, sharing coffee and idle gossip, are cherished by Kitty. They are few and far between, for Laura cannot often spare the time for Kitty, but whenever Laura has a free moment it belongs to her. It is a gift that Kitty greedily accepts when it is offered. It is in these hours that she feels more herself than she does at home with her husband and her dog. It is in these hours that she feels equally unsettled and nervous.
There is something about Laura Brown, something that fascinates Kitty. Though they’ve known each other for years, Kitty always has a sense that she never quite knows Laura. There’s always something that’s locked away, hidden from everyone. It’s as if she’s afraid that if anyone were to see this part of her, it would become vulnerable and compromised. It would become unsafe.
Kitty wishes to know all of her. They know each other intimately, in the ways friends and lovers know each other, but there are still parts that remain evasive. Kitty wants more than anything for Laura to trust her so implicitly that she shares herself completely. She wants Laura to match her own openness. There is nothing that Kitty won’t tell Laura and she wishes ardently, selfishly, that Laura would—could—do the same.
She blows on her coffee and takes a sip, watching Laura’s sad eyes as they flicker to the spot where Richie plays with a collection of new blocks. She wonders what makes Laura so sad. She has an inkling that it’s the same thing that afflicts her. Being married to someone who doesn’t understand you takes its toll. Kitty feels as though she is losing parts of herself the longer she stays with Ray, despite how desperately she tries to convince herself that this marriage is what she wants. She’s tried so hard to be a good wife and she has failed desperately. She hates feeling as though she has to settle for this life, but it’s even harder to watch Laura as she struggles to appear content with the life she’s living.
Kitty wishes more than anything that times were different, that she could love Laura openly and that they could start a new life together. But Kitty knows better; neither of them are the types of women who would just pick up their lives and start over somewhere else. It assures her to know that they will continue to have this, these mornings together, for years and years to come. They will have their husbands, their children (not Kitty; the doctors are certain), their homes—but they will have each other.
That’s all Kitty needs. She would be lost without Laura. She would smile to the world and pretend to love her husband, but she would be dead inside without her.
Laura notices the lull in the conversation due to Kitty’s introspection and she looks at her curiously. Kitty gives a reassuring smile. She cannot tell Laura what she’s been thinking. Richie spies innocently in the adjoining room. He notices everything, and it’s all Kitty can do to be discreet. She wishes that he were with Mrs. Latch today so that they could talk freely and kiss and hold each other. It’s been days since they’ve touched and her desire must be evident in her eyes because Laura, after glancing quickly at Richie’s turned back, takes up Kitty’s hand and kisses her fingertips.
As Laura’s lips press against her fingers, Kitty knows for certain that she would never survive losing Laura. She knows this the way that she knows the sky is blue. This love will consume her and swallow her whole, but it will also save her from the life she was drowning in.
She can handle pretending to be happy as long as Laura loves her.