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I have been sitting contemplating my filled cup of coffee for the past hour. A dilemma has decided to surface inside my head, just as a sunrise would, only that these thoughts are uninvited and seeing the sun awaken is rather beautiful and relaxing.
Should I be calling Anna and fabricating a lie that will soon become suspicious if the police become involved? Or should I simply not call her and let her create her own set of lies so that the police become involved? Either way, Roy is in trouble, or danger. He's a victim of a mental disorder and it is my duty to protect him. I lean back onto my chair, the wood squeaking as my back presses against its rear. Isn't that something a wife would say of her spouse? "I take you to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."
A set of laughter and footsteps render me back to this suburb, in this quiet and small Illinois town where nothing ever seemed to happen. My neighbours have returned. I feel as though my intimacy has been stripped. For the weekend, it seemed as though Roy and I were alone, sharing a secret that is almost too dangerous yet intriguing enough for me to wonder what will happen next.
I stare blankly at the cup again, my hands grasping my hair tightly. I let go and take a sip of my cold latte and decide it's time to call her. I don't want to become a victim. Years of therapy already taught me that no one ever cares about your misfortunes, even if they profit from it. The standard "tell me about it" is not really a cordial gesture from an experienced psychologist who genuinely cares, but rather a standard and automatic sentence to get you started, to pity yourself and be judged for the countless mistakes you've done and you could have avoided if only you were thinking straight. I guess that my mind was not in the right place when I said "yes" at the altar, nor when I decided to keep up with his nonsense. I sigh as I grab the phone. She does not even let it ring once.
"Bailey! I was about to call!"
I know she wasn't. I can feel the scent of her roasted turkey slowly coming out of my handset, filling the air with suspicion and a delightful smell. Her husband is probably nearby, grabbing her waist while she smirks and tries to liberate herself from his embrace. I hear her deposit a metallic tray on the table.
"Sorry, honey. I was making some Mac n Cheese. The kids love it and so does Georgie."
I feel almost repulsed by her melodic and sweet voice pronouncing a nickname she made for her husband. I want to hang up but I remain listening to her while she asks me what is really going on. "I can tell it's more than just work, honey. I've known you for years. Tell me, what is going through your mind?"
Her question sounds rather condescending, even though she attempts to sound concerned. "What is really going through my mind?" Roy, my ex-husband, love? Why love when I clearly gave up on believing fairy tale endings years ago?
"Listen, Anna. I know I sound... different."
She interrupts with a grunt.
"Oh, honey, you're not yourself at all. I know I haven't spoken to you in a while. I know what you've been through and I gave you some space so that you didn't feel overwhelmed with pity and fake understanding. But this... you sound... worried..."
I let out a laugh, trying to sound relaxed, careless. I can tell it has not worked.
"Bailey. I'm here for anything you need. I... I miss hanging out with you. You were such a city girl and now... now you're in some suburb and God knows when you go out."
I feel tempted to say never but I let her carry on. It seems as though she means well yet I know I cannot trust her. Roy and I have a secret that connects us together much more deeply than a past friendship of which I have forgotten most of.
"So you're okay with that?"
"Huh?" I snap back into reality and realise I have not processed anything she's said to me. I can tell she's offended by my carelessness.
"Nevermind, I'll do it anyway," she says and I dare not ask what task she has mind, not because I'm not curious but rather uninterested. Uninterested in her and the world which has mistreated me so crudely. I begin to relate more strongly to Roy, who undoubtedly committed a crime against an innocent woman, yet what if she did something to make him feel unworthy? That is also a crime and he was in his right to punish it. Have I become sadistic, jealous, or rational? I don't know but Anna is now screaming, her voice piercing my ear like an earring would, only that I await no pretty result, but rather a threat from her.
'Listen, you're not okay. I'm coming over as soon as I find a little bit of a space. With work and all, I'm quite busy but I can't bear to see you like this. You sound distant and certainly you don't seem like the Bailey I remember." A remote cry is then heard in the distance. I suppose it's her baby, calling for attention. He will get his demands satisfied almost immediately while my seek for help will remain ignored and will summon me further into isolation and darkness.
"Gotta go, darling. I'll see you soon." Her energetic, bubbly tone has shifted to this much less cheerful, authoritarian voice which sounds more menacing than comforting.
"See you." As soon as I hang up the phone, I see Roy sitting down on the window pane right in front of my kitchen. He holds a cup of coffee (I suppose it's coffee because that's what I like and we're undeniably soulmates) while staring right into my eyes. I see him suddenly smile and wave. Adrenaline rushes through my veins, blood pumping from my heart to the rest of my body. I feel myself blush and bring my hand to my cheeks, as if rubbing them softly will get rid of the pink tone they have acquired. I cannot help but smile and wave back. He has noticed me. I finally feel like I am someone in some other person's eyes. I leave the phone on the table and realise one thing as I wave back at him. She cannot come here and intrude in my relationship with Roy. She cannot enter my house looking to judge me, tell me that she's got the solution to all my problems. She cannot come in here expecting that she'll convince me to move back to the city. That would tear me and Roy apart and that is unforgivable. She cannot hope to live if she does that. She must go.