In 1979, with trophy ring memories, we moved to the Pacific Northwest, part of a periodic lemming rush north with California’s home equity. I was 29. Our modest Mountain View home’s sale price moved us into the Northwest upscale housing bracket. Our new home’s subdivision was nicknamed “California Hill” reflecting the number of ex-California residents. I became a stay at home mom, one committed to again be a super mom.
I wanted the Pacific Northwest rain to rinse me clean, wash away the sins of my adulterous past. During affairs I felt dirty. My secret puppet shadow was evil, contemptable, despicable. Why? Why had I let her do it? I was ashamed.
It was time for redemption, true confession, to myself. I pleaded to God tfor redemption and vowed to sin no more. With my marriage re-commitment, God did. I felt God’s redemption, my soul cleansed, a wondrous clean slate feeling experienced when young exiting the confessional.
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 and our yard as an unofficial playground. While I baked, the economy hit a down beat and many fellow lemmings crashed on the economic rocks. With economic apprehension and hubby’s long hours working we also skied, canoed and camped, family style, with me all the way in, he kids oblivious of our economic peril as the economy spiraled downward. Our home purchase price was soon more than its present worth, a new experience.
While we spent time as a family and worried about the economy, most of our new friends and neighbors went to church Sundays. 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.
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 image of chaste wife among my staid new friends and neighbors. Soon, however, it became apparent some of the Puritans needed church.
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 but not a church goer. 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, while gone, the neighborhood gossip was she was having an affair. She was wild, beyond swing shift wild.
She was not in an affair. She was simply promiscuous. Talking to her was like listening to swing shift tales. I advised her to be more responsible like the older woman at work once did for me but avoided moral judgement due to my past transgressions. She assumed I was a chaste wife which I was again.
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.
I gave a sneaky admission smile. With the 3rd 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. Secret disclosures soon revealed other hot wives.
They were women in the “Affairs Circle”. Accepted as an honorable retiree I was shocked to learn what was going on. The wives of houses adjoining ours were involved in affairs, one with her pastor, the other, a waitress, 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.
In the school I volunteered at, a female teacher and her husband, the vice principle, berated us for not attending a “normal” church. Both had messy affairs. She caused another couple’s divorce and he an illegitimate child. Their revelations would fit in at the swing shift lunch table.
I listened to “Affairs Circle” adventures and they, my swing shift trophy tales while they encouraged my redeployment. They were disappointed about my retirement but their gossip clued me in what going on. I was determined to remain true to my re-commitment vow, avoid flirting and stay off the gossip list.
There were many respectable women outside the “Affairs Circle” and I wanted to be one of them. I limited my participation to babysitting while they played. It was also the beginning of the 1980’s and AIDS was creeping into the news.
Instead I clued in hubby. He gave hot wives nick names, Road Runner, Cop Hound, Preacher's Pet, Quarter Chaser, Affair Teacher, Bar Girl, etc. Stimulation was the limit of our arousal from hot wife escapade tales due to our past swinging fiasco.
I did abet the “Affairs Circle” by babysitting. Sometimes I 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 something when amiss, jumped up and proclaimed.
"She's already taken."
He and Erica laughed. "Already Taken", shortened to "A. T." became my nickname. While experiencing arousal vicariously through Affairs Circle exploits and limiting my participation to trophy ring memories I continued to become closer to Erica.
We also socialized as couples with no hints of Erica' escapades 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, like most would, but not really. She’d told me about action it but I hadn’t been over to see it.
“I don’t think a man was there while you were gone.”
Not a lie in a way bcause she told me there were 2.
The Pacific Northwes rains turned out to be drizzles not rain. We acclimatized to it and rationalized everything was greener because of it and spent more inside house time versus California outside time. The drizzle, however, didn’t wash sins away. It made they 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 and wouldn’t associate with her 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.
Afterwards, however, her words kept echoing.
I’m bored, bored, bored in this rain! I need an affair!
A forbidden thought, once pondered, inevitable. Vixen purred in anticipation.
Author Notes: Once a sinner always a sinner?