Every day was filled with the monotony of cleaning and cooking and ferrying children to a variety of afterschool classes and parties. Every night as she snuggled under Egyptian cotton sheets next to impossibly handsome Dan, she knew that in eight hours she had to get up and go through the same old routine.
Even their sex life had over years steadied into a three times per week routine. Louise resigned herself to the fact that there was little she could do. As her mother would say, she had made her bed, now she must lie in it. Designer sheets and all.
Then Anna moved in next door and the green-eyed monster took a hold of Louise. Amongst a street of nice suburban families, Anna really stood out.
Instead of the uniform jeans and t-shirts, Anna wore designer dresses and heels. Instead of a sensible four by four, she drove a flashy red convertible and instead of nights spent pairing up socks and watching Desperate Housewives, she frequented the local cocktail bars and clubs. Anna Moore was like a different species.
From a distance, Louise envied her, bitterness taking over every fibre of her being.
One day, as Louise hung out the laundry, she noticed Anna lazing on a sunlounger, sipping iced tea, her head buried in a glossy magazine.
“Hi.” Anna glanced up, instigating the conversation that would soon change Louise’s life forever.
At first Dan seemed pleased that his wife had found a new friend in Anna. He was more than happy when she went out with her on a Friday night, even encouraging it.
“It will do you good.” he told her as she fretted over the children’s bedtime routines.
Soon, drinks on a Friday night led to shopping on a Saturday which merged into drinks on a Saturday night. Once in a while, became every week.
Louise swapped her sensible flats for killer heels and her hemline receded as quickly as her fake tan deepened. The housework took to the back burner as she spent her days gossiping over wine fuelled lunches.
Barely able to feign interest in the planning of a family holiday, she ploughed all her energy into organising a girls only shopping trip to New York. Through gritted teeth, Dan consented to letting her go.
Over time Louise was transformed from involved, conscientious wife and mother to someone just going through the motions. The rare times she was around, she was distracted, serving up shop-bought cakes and ready meals before dashing off.
Dan grew increasingly frustrated with his wife. Arguments became a daily occurrence until one day, following a particularly bitter row, Louise announced that she was leaving.
“I’ll move in with Anna, ’til I find somewhere.” she decided, her muscles relaxing as the weight of a dead marriage lifted from her shoulders.
Finally, the life she had coveted was hers and she had never been happier, or at least that’s what she told herself.
She shook off the niggles of regret as she busied herself with decorating her new flat, reviving her career and nights of cocktail drinking.
One afternoon, she saw Dan’s car parked outside the supermarket. Flicking out her freshly blow-dried hair, she was about to make her way over when she noticed there was someone sitting in the passenger seat. A wave of emotions washed over her as she watched Dan lean over and kiss the stranger. As the head turned, a familiar face smiled across at her. Anna.