Jun. 3rd, 2017

andhiswife: (pondering)
June 11, 2017 (later):

It might all be nonsense -- she's thought of that. She's found Jack and Rapunzel and Cinderella and the Girl with the Cape in story books, and none of it has been quite what she expected. None of it has been a perfect match. There's no reason to think that her own story has somehow survived intact, down to the last detail. Maybe it's been mangled and twisted over the years. Maybe there have been mistranslations.

Maybe people changed things on purpose. It's not as if 'a Baker's Wife lies, swindles, and cheats her way through a magical Wood, gets the child she wants, and lives happily ever after' is the sort of tale people would want to tell their children. Stories are supposed to teach lessons, and lessons are supposed to be things like 'behave yourself -- or else.' They're supposed to teach children how to be good, not practical, or satisfied.

She hadn't gone into the Woods to be good.

But no matter how hard she tries to convince herself that it's all some sort of ghastly editing choice, she can't quite believe it. She remembers how it had felt, standing at Sam's window and looking straight down. The terror that she was about to fall had been sudden and visceral and familiar in a way she had refused to examine. Now, she knows why.

She wishes--

--no. No more wishes. Look where the last one got her.

God, if she can just hold herself together until she gets back to her apartment, then... she can't think about what then. She just has to get there without making a scene, without being the madwoman everyone else tries to politely ignore. Oh, don't mind me, I just found out that I'm technically dead, that's all.

She feels as if she might laugh, or be sick, she doesn't know which. She has to stop for a moment and grab the back of a bench to steady herself, her other hand pressed to her midriff, as if to make sure she isn't literally falling apart.

But she isn't. She's fine. She's fine.
andhiswife: (melancholy)
June 12th, 2017:

She has no business going to work on Monday morning. She barely slept the night before, and she knows she ought to call in. Lying is easier over the phone. 'I'm sick' wouldn't be questioned; she feels sick, and she knows she'd sound it.

But the alternative to work is staying here, and she can't bear the thought of it. There are distractions at Green Gardens. There are reasons to put on a brave face and pretend nothing's wrong, and maybe that isn't wise, but it's what she wants. She wants to be brave. She wants nothing to be wrong.

She wants to get out of this too-quiet, too-empty apartment that has gone from borrowed lodging to all she has.

The really shocking thing is that it seems to work, at least in the beginning. Things she'd wanted to do become things she has to do: calm down, make herself presentable, leave her apartment, walk with purpose. The cool morning air soothes her, a little, and she doesn't glance toward the treeline or think about just how much of a waste those trips to Cabeswater turned out to be.

She arrives well before any of the children are awake, and doesn't even have to interact with anyone between the front door and the kitchen except for one of the cats (who submits with surprisingly good humor when, in a moment of weakness, she scoops it up and buries her face in its fur). And then there's breakfast to make -- something new, she decides, and a little ambitious, something that will require her full attention.

Even when people start to wake and poke their heads in, she's able to keep her composure. What's the alternative? She can't just start weeping in front of a child.

Still, there's no getting around her exhaustion, and it's harder to be distracted by the mundanities of cleaning up after breakfast. She finds herself pausing more and more often, staring right through the pile of dirty dishes she's ostensibly washing and swallowing past the lump in her throat. Catching herself after one such lapse, she gives her head a little shake and scrubs harder. She's already made it through most of her shift; she's not giving up, now.
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