Tuesday, October 2, 2012. Megan stands outside in the cold air, recalling the panic attack she had last night as she walked past a motorbike revving its engine on the street. She ran down the train tracks all the way home from the center of town, hoping to feel the rattle of the train whoosh past her—but none came. In the middle of the night, she left Scott alone in bed to call her therapist on the phone, but Abdic didn’t answer. Now, Megan decides to go inside and get ready to go to a nearby forest, Corly Wood, to be alone and take some photographs. She needs to find something to fill her days—and soon.
Megan feels increasingly restless, unmoored, and unstable. Like Rachel, she turns to the train that runs through town as a symbol of how badly she wants to escape from the monotony of her life. Megan doesn’t feel that she inhabits the standards of femininity that society expects of her, and this makes her feel shameful and embarrassed.
That evening, Megan comes home to find that Scott has been on her computer, no doubt searching through her browser history and emails. Dr. Abdic has suggested Megan keep a diary of her feelings—but she knows she can’t, not without Scott looking at it. Megan doesn’t blame Scott for going through her things—she is by no means a perfect wife.
This passage hints at just how possessive Scott is. He knows that Megan isn’t fully happy—and he wants to find a way to restrain her and prevent her restless, wandering soul from taking flight. In other words, he wants Megan to be a domestic, submissive wife.
Saturday, October 13, 2012. Megan wakes up, having slept five hours after doing something risky the night before. After Pilates last week, Megan asked a friend from class, Tara, if she wanted to go to a movie one night—then asked if Tara would cover for Megan while Megan went somewhere else. Megan asked Tara to answer if Scott called her and say Megan was in the bathroom, and then let Megan know Scott that had called so that Megan could get in touch with him. Tara agreed—and last night, under the guise of attending the cinema with Tara, Megan met up with an unnamed lover at a hotel nearby. At the end of their rendezvous, Megan’s lover told her that they couldn’t meet again—but Megan knows they will, because she has an “intoxicating” kind of power over this man.
Hawkins doesn’t reveal the name of Megan’s lover in order to deepen and prolong the mystery of what was going on in Megan’s life. The reader knows that Megan is attracted to Dr. Abdic, so he could be the man she’s seeing. Tom is also a possibility, given that Megan worked for him (and he previously cheated on Rachel). In either situation, one thing is certain: Megan is playing with fire.
That evening, Scott asks Megan if she had fun with Tara the night before. Megan replies that she had a great time and tells Scott that she wants to have Tara over for dinner soon. The two of them go to sit outside, and Scott asks more questions about Tara—including if she has children. Megan wants to avoid the subject, so she invites Scott up to the bedroom. As they begin having sex, Megan thinks about someone else.
Megan begins the process of having an affair—and of lying to her husband. She is moving further and further away from Scott’s ideal version of a wife and potential mother, yet she attempts to distract him from the truth the only way she knows how: through sex.