By Fran Clark
The clock on the bedside table says 2am. I'm sure that's what it said half an hour ago. I'm tossing and turning but I can't get back to sleep. Just relax, I keep telling myself. I am relaxed. I'm sure I am. I try counting sheep and then taking deep breaths. Nothing works. Damn. Now I need to go to the loo.
The floor is cold against my feet and the flush sounds a million times louder at this time of night. I hope I don't wake anyone. It's too warm in the bedroom, no wonder I can't sleep.
I look over at Eddie and he's fast asleep. Snoring. Just great. But wait, what's this on my pillow? Did I leave a book or... My hand is at my mouth, I want to scream but... I. I can't believe this. I'm there. In my bed. That's my head on the pillow. That's me lying in my bed. Wearing my nightdress. Asleep.
I sit beside the me who is happily resting in my place. My heart feels like thunder in my chest and I don't know what to do. Eddie is still snoring. I put my hand on her, slowly. I'm convinced that I'm asleep, that I'm dreaming this. But her body is warm, it moves up and down in a gentle, relaxed rhythm. I put my face next to hers and I can feel her warm breath. I stand abruptly and look at the door. I look at the window and then at all the dark shapes in the room.
That's just the chair, I tell myself, that's just the wardrobe and that's just me. Asleep, in my bed. No it can't be.
I go around to Eddie's side. Maybe I'll wake him and he can wake me up and everything will be all right. I kneel beside him. “Eddie, Eddie,” I whisper. I touch his arm and he rolls over and throws an arm around her. She's smiling.
I stand and pace the room. I'm feeling cold now. If I’m feeling cold then this can't be a dream. My hands are like ice. My fingers like icicles as they grip my arms, now covered in goose bumps.
Eddie, please wake up.
I sit on the chair and rock gently back and forth. I watch the minutes on my alarm clock moving agonisingly towards daylight.
At last it arrives. Eddie leans up on his elbow and looks over at her. He yawns and she wakes slowly and rolls over to him, reaches out and strokes his face. He smiles and slips a finger under the strap of her nightdress and pulls it down. He kisses her cheek, her lips, her neck. She wraps her arms around him and seems to be looking straight at me as Eddie's tongue finds her nipple.
The bedroom door flies open and there's Suzy.
“Mummy,” she screams and jumps onto the bed, while she pulls her nightdress back on. I stand and watch them tickle Suzy and then Eddie gets up to start breakfast.
She combs Suzy's hair the way I do, dresses Matty in the clothes I'd planned for him to wear. Tears gather in my eyes but cannot flow as I watch them eat breakfast.
They drive away and I'm standing at the living room window screaming at them to come back but they don't stop the car, they just keep going.
I've been curled up in a ball by the living room window all day. She was the first one back with the children and got packed and ready for our drive to Grandma's for dinner tonight. Somehow I have to follow them, try to make Eddie see me. Surely the children will.
The journey in the back of the car with them was a waste of time. I watched Matty hitting Suzy, listened to her tell him off and watched her run her fingers through Eddie's hair.
Please see me. Please hear me.
They've stayed too late at Grandma's. The kids fall asleep in the back of the car and Eddie drank too much so she's driving. She's driving my children, my husband. I want to scream.
I watch her in the rear view mirror. Her eyes are drooping, her head nods every now and again. Eddie chats but now he is asleep.
She puts on my favourite CD and sings softly so she won't wake the kids.
I see her eyes droop again, her head sag and the lights of the lorry, driving towards us. Her eyes are closed now and the car swerves to the wrong side of the road.
I shout. I scream my name. I shout for Eddie and then try to turn up the music to rouse her. The lorries lights are flashing and I hear brakes screeching. I lean forward, my hand at the dial and then I see the time. 2am.
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