In 1979, with trophy ring memories, I followed hubby to the Pacific Northwest, our little family part of the periodic lemming rushes north, propelled by and paid for, by California’s home equity. I was twenty-nine. Our modest twenty-five-year-old Mountain View home’s sale price of just under one hundred thousand dollars moved us into a new upscale subdivision. nicknamed “California Hill” by native locals. I became a stay at home mom, committed to again being a super mom and wife.
During my affairs with Edward and Enrico, I felt dirty. I hoped the Pacific Northwest rain would rinse me clean from the sins committed by my contemptable, and despicable secret puppet shadow.
Why had I let her do it? It was time for truthful confession, sincere redemption, and appropriate penance. I accepted guilt, pleaded for God's forgiveness, and vowed to sin no more. God did. I felt God’s grace. My soul was cleansed. I experienced the wondrous clean slate feeling I did on exiting the confessional before my mortal sin of self-abuse.
I also enjoyed the lack of swing shift time stress but missed its excitement. My energies were diverted to school activities, chauffeuring, tutoring and baking. My cinnamon rolls and cookies established our house as the hang out for neighborhood kids. Our yard as an unofficial playground which attracted more kids than the swings and teeter-totter of the neighborhood park.
While I cooked and baked, the economy hit a downbeat. Many neighborhood fellow lemmings crashed on financial rocks as they leaped over an economic cliff. Although threatened, we were spared as hubby’s job escaped the massive layoffs occurring. We skied, canoed, and camped, family-style, observant of our surrounding economic peril as the economy spiraled precipitously downward. Our home purchase price was soon less than its market value. Our old home in Mountain View, meanwhile continued to increase ensuring there was no return to California.
Most of our new friends and neighbors went to church on Sundays. We no longer did. Well, we did but not really. To compromise, we went to a small Unitarian church to give the kids some idea who Moses and Jesus were. I missed Catholic Mass's incense, candles, statutes, and Latin singing. I did learn, however, at one Unitarian sermon, The Wizard of Oz was a Unitarian movie where Dorothy overcame magic by being true to herself. It, however, was too intellectual and was devoid of spirituality, a human essence Carl Jung defined as a human necessity.
Occasionally, among women friends, I wore Edward’s trophy ring, a venial sin breach of my re-commitment vow. I never mentioned its source and kept an image of chaste wife among my staid new friends and neighbors. Soon, however, it became apparent some of the Puritans needed church attendance.
Erica was beautiful, a true ethnic Swedish blond. She was the same age as me with a son the same age as mine. She too was a stay at home mom and a California lemming. We met at a school function and she started visiting, her son for cinnamon rolls and her to sip wine. Her husband traveled overseas for his business and they were not economically threatened. When he was overseas, the neighborhood gossip was, she was having an affair.
Over wine, I learned the gossip was untrue. She was not in an affair. Unabashedly, she explained she met men for casual sex and dumped them when tired of them. She was wild, beyond swing shift wild. She told of sexual exploits beyond the girls at work tales as she related her sexual escapades. She admitted she was promiscuous, loved sex with young alpha males and had no commitment or faithfulness required. I advised her to be more responsible, as the older woman at work once did for me but also avoided moral judgments. She assumed I was a chaste wife, which I was.
One afternoon, wearing Edward's ring, she remarked on its beauty and asked how I got it.
“Oh, it’s a long story.”
“Okay, what’s the short version?”
“It’s a love thing, trophy ring, from trophy love.”
“Old boyfriend, no you told me you were engaged at 16, so hubby?
“It’s past, I’d better not say more.”
“Say more? You just said it all! Tell me, cat’s out now. Let’s hear you meow.”
I gave a sneaky admission smile. With the third glass of wine, I let my secret puppet shadow slip out to dance. Disclosure made us close. She introduced me to another hot-wife with kids. Their disclosures soon revealed more hot-wives.
They were known as the “Affairs Circle” and accepted me as an honorable retiree. They also knew a lot about non-member hypocrites. I was shocked to learn what was going on. The church-going wives of houses adjoining ours were involved in affairs, one with her pastor. The other, a waitress, was doing booty call duty with the restaurant owner. Around the corner, a cop's wife was having an affair with another cop. A Vietnamese wife was also having a cop affair. The police were busy with 911 booty calls.
I did volunteer work in the kid’s school. A female teacher and her vice-principal husband berated us for not attending a “normal” church. The “Affairs Club” revealed both had messy affairs. She caused another couple’s divorce and he an illegitimate child. Their revelations meant many churchgoers would fit in at the swing shift lunch table.
I listened to “Affairs Circle” adventures but had only my historic trophy ring tales to tell. They egged me on to redeployment. I limited my participation to babysitting while they played and was determined to remain true to my re-commitment vow, avoid flirting and stay off the gossip list. Most women were outside the “Affairs Circle” and I wanted to be one of them. It was also the beginning of the 1980s and AIDS was creeping into the news even though it was considered a homosexual disease.
I clued in hubby. He gave the hot wives nicknames, Road Runner, Cop Hound, Preacher's Pet, Quarter Chaser, Sex Educator, Bar Girl, etc. Stimulation was the limit of our arousal from hot wife escapade tales due to our past swinging fiasco.
When I abetted by babysitting, I sometimes met their lovers. One of Erica's hit on me at her house as if I too was a hot-wife. He brazenly asked me for a date. My kids were present, the oldest, old enough to realize when something was amiss, jumped up from playing and proclaimed.
"She's already taken."
The adults laughed and this became my nickname, "Already Taken", shortened to "A. T." While experiencing sexual arousal vicariously through “Affairs Circle” exploits and limiting my participation to trophy ring memories, I became closer to Erica.
She pushed the envelope. If I had a lesbian bent it would have been with her. She unabashedly told me about her romps and I told her more about my past than anyone else. I could ask her anything. Once I asked if her pubic hair was as blond as the hair on her head. She simply dropped pants and panties and let me see. Her bush turf was as blond as on her head with fine wavy hairs.
She asked to see mine, to see if I was "slanted". I surprised myself, lifted my skirt, dropped my panties and displayed mine with a few straight black hairs, the opposite of her wavy blond ones. It was the first and only time I exposed myself to a woman.
She showed me her breasts and asked if they matched one another or if one sagged to the left. I lied and said they were symmetrical, opened my blouse and took off my bra and she examined my breasts. She said she envied me as they were still perky, matched and my nipples were still pink despite kids.
Exposed we stared at each other. If I ever was to have sex with a woman it would have occurred then. I think it crossed both of our minds but it was too big a leap. We said nothing and redressed, both relieved, nothing happened.
We also socialized as couples with no hint of her escapades mentioned to her husband. He, however, was suspicious. Once he came to our house, by himself, playing detective, supposedly to check on his visiting son. He asked if I’d seen a man at his house two days before while he was away on business.
I lied, as most would, but not really. She’d told me about the action but I hadn’t been over to see it. He blurted out he suspected there was a man there while he was away. I knew this was not true.
“I didn’t think a man was there while you were gone.”
There were two and she could hardly sit afterward as she told me about being a sex sandwich. This burned my ears but I had no desire to try it based on her discomfort and her sitting on a donut pillow the next day.
The rain turned out to be drizzle. We acclimatized to it and rationalized everything was greener because of it. We adjusted to inside house time versus California outside time. The drizzle, however, didn't wash sins away. It made them grow like moss.
I remained chaste and true to my vow before God for over two years. It was not a man or Erica who led me astray. It was another faithful wife. I played cards with a group of married women. They didn't know Erica or about the “Affairs Circle “and wouldn’t associate with them if they did. During a card game, one blurted out.
"Rain, rain go away! I’m bored, bored, bored, bored in this rain! I need an affair!"
We laughed and joked about who with, each bringing up their choices, including my Joe Montana, to more laughs.
Afterward, however, her words kept echoing.
I’m bored, bored, bored in this rain! I need an affair!
A forbidden thought pondered, an inevitable consequence. Cobra arose from her panty basket in anticipation.
Author Notes: Once a sinner always a sinner?