You can’t keep the tiny smile from quirking the corners of your lips as you watch her. She’s asleep, has been for hours, but still you lay beside her, watching. A line from a novel you once read when you were a teenager enters your mind.
In your White Kingdom, everything is sacred. A bird, a flower, a speck of dust, a single cloud on a bright day, a break of sunlight through the rain. And when the darkness threatens, when blackness takes over, always remember that in your White Kingdom, nothing can touch you, you are safe, for white is the color of purity and love and passion, and when the three come together, blackness cannot penetrate.
Here, with her, entwined together in these sinfully smooth white sheets, this is your White Kingdom.
Your eyes drift over her body, as smooth and creamy white as the sheets you lay in. the white is only broken by the soft pink of her nipples, her lips, the dark fringe of eyelashes and the wildly shocking wave of red tossed across the pillow.
You can’t help but suddenly wonder how you came to this place, with her. How could you possibly deserve her?
Then the blackness starts to creep in, and you think of how the novel was wrong. Because here you are in this White Kingdom, and your mind returns to those days when white was nowhere, and blackness filled your life.
You always say that it started with the sudden cancellation of Desperate Housewives. You loved that show, but after the accident, you can’t say you were sad to see it go. To continue would just be too painful.
You remember walking into the chapel, your arm entwined with hers, like that scene so long ago, but really, not that far into the past. You both wore black, of course, and your husband walked behind the two of you. Just like that scene.
But in that scene, your friends were around. It was play-acting. You weren’t there to mourn one of those friends.
You have wondered ever since you heard about the accident why it had to happen to her. She was so full of life. She was the sunshine in your day, in everyone’s day. She had more to live for than most of you. Of course, you and Teri both had your children. But she had her life ahead of her. More parties, men... marriage, one day, she always said, and a baby.
Then the accident changed all that. And as you sat down in the pew second from the front, you realized that you felt numb. Beside you, she sniffled, and you handed her a Kleenex. She mumbled something you didn’t hear over the sound of blood rushing in your ears, but you smiled tightly at her anyway.
When Eva’s mother stood up at the front of the chapel and began her small speech, you felt a band tightening around your middle. You felt sick. Why her? Her mother dissolved into tears, and one of her brothers stood and silently led her back to her seat.
Tears choked the voices of everyone who spoke, but still your eyes were dry.
It wasn’t until after, after the memorial, after the lighting of the candles, after the food and the memories and the pictures... it wasn’t until after that you finally let go.
You had reassured your husband earlier that you would be okay, and so he had already left with the children. You weren’t okay.
But she was there, one arm around your shoulders, the other grasping your tightly clutched hands, and she led you into one of the bathrooms. She locked the door behind you, and suddenly the weight was entirely too much, and you sank to your knees, and she was beside you, holding you and rocking you and whispering things you would never remember, all the while silent tears trailed down her cheeks. Because she had broken earlier, but the blackness was still inside her.
By then the show had been cancelled, Gabrielle would forever live on Wisteria Lane, caught between Carlos and John. Susan would always be not-quite-there with Mike. Bree would never stop chasing after her unobtainable goal of perfection. Lynette would never be able to let go and stop being Super-Mom for more than three seconds. Edie would continue to chase after every attractive man to grace the neighborhood.
And you missed it. You missed the easy laughter, the jokes, the amazing abundance of estrogen.
But at the same time, you know you would never be able to go back. Because Eva wouldn’t be there, and somehow that would be too much to face.
There’s one thing that you can’t deny, however. You can’t deny that you learned from her death. You were a desperate housewife in your own right. But when Eva died, so suddenly and so tragically – as if a death could be anything but tragic – you decided that it was finally time to live for yourself. Damn what your agent wanted, damn what your husband wanted, damn even what your children wanted. For once, it was going to be all about what you wanted.
And you wanted the woman who now lays beside you.
You finally learned how to grab life – and love – with both hands, and not let go. Your smile turns sad as you can’t help but think how happy Eva would have been for the two of you. She always seemed to have a secret smile when she looked at you, like she knew when you were thinking of things you couldn’t have, the woman you couldn’t touch.
Suddenly you feel very alone, in this huge bed, with the woman you married just hours ago. Alone, and not a little bit frightened. You’ve said more than once that you live every day in constant fear, and that was never more true. You’ve seen first hand that life can throw curve balls, and you want to hold onto this precious thing you’ve discovered with everything in you.
You shift closer to the woman beside you, wrap your arms around her and bury your face in her neck. You know she will wake up, but you don’t care. You feel her shift, hear her sigh, then her arms are around you, and you can imagine her slight frown as she says you name, her tone questioning.
Lifting your head, you look into her beautiful green eyes and feel your blue ones mist over. “Just hold me,” you whisper, your voice thick with emotion. You put your head back down on her shoulder and her arms tighten. She doesn’t say a word, but then, she never had to.
“Eva would have had a blast today,” you finally whisper.
You feel her head twist to the side, then the press of her lips against your hair. “I think she did. Somewhere,” she whispers back, and you smile as tears begin to seep down your cheeks.
You loved her, Eva. Much like you love Marcia. Your love for Eva was never as intense, never as passionate or all-consuming. But you loved her nonetheless. And for a moment, you can almost feel her against your back, her arms snaked around you, her fingers entwining with Marcia’s. And you feel a peace wash over you as the darkness fades from your White Kingdom, chased away by the memory of a love that might have been, and a love that had become.