In "The Wrong Way Home," Amanda wasn't very eager to share with Lee what went wrong in her marriage. She was quite guarded, for Amanda. So I constructed something of a memory to illuminate her frame of mind at the moment she knew her marriage was over. It's a rawer image of the glossy version she gave in that episode.

SMK is not mine, and I'm not making money off this...yadda yadda...please don't sue me. This is my first SMK effort. I like meaningful feedback. If this goes over well, I'll try for something longer and with plot.

October, 1980

She awoke with a start and sat upright, blinking in the dim, gray light of early morning. A spattering of rain was pelting the window panes. A motor was idling in the drive, but she stayed rooted where she was. A moment later, the sound of the cab's departure was evident enough. She didn't need to see it. Her chin dropped toward her chest, her eyes closed and hair draped like blinders for extra measure against everything she didn't need to see. The clock would read 5:05 a.m. The suitcase outside the bedroom door would be absent. The duffle bag and attaché case on the kitchen table, gone. He was gone. No words of hers were strong enough to hold him.

Almost as an afterthought, she realized it was the clap of the car door that had pierced her sleep. All through the night, it was the sound she had dreaded, and expected. Drawing a tremulous breath, she pressed a hand to her mouth. For a moment, a surge of anger flashed unbidden through the sorrow and heated thoughts accosted her. It wasn't supposed to be like this. She wasn't supposed to be this person, this suburban icon beloved by everyone in the neighborhood except her own husband. This thirty-year-old abandoned housewife.

She could still hear the rumble of his low voice from just hours ago. "You once told me you'd follow me to the ends of the earth," he said gently. He was always so gentle, even when he was twisting the knife.

"Oh, Joe," she had countered impatiently, "I said that when we had nothing to lose but a lease on an ugly old apartment in a lousy neighborhood. We have children now, for Pete's sake. How can we come live with you in Africa? There are no English-speaking schools, no medical care. We'd all need passports and-what?-nine different vaccines? Sweetheart, you are getting hardship pay to go to this place! How can you think this is a good environment to raise your family?"

He didn't argue anymore after that. He just stared at her, smiling sadly, unmoved. Later, he didn't come up to bed. He said he needed to wrap up some work first. But he never came up.

She brushed her hair from her face in a vain attempt to clear her head of these ruminations. After a time, she sank back down onto the bed, pulling the covers up to her ears. In another hour, she would rouse herself, put on the brave face again, and get the boys started on another busy morning. They knew Daddy was leaving on another trip when he tucked them in bed last night. Nothing would be amiss to them, and she would preserve that illusion to the end. But for now, she rolled onto her side and turned her face to the pillow. For now, blissfully unnoticed, the tears could fall in perfect candor.