After Elliot, I snuggled back with hubby spent more time in the office but by 1990, three years after Elliot, on turning forty, I rebelled against being a middle-aged woman.
The children in college no longer needed my cinnamon rolls. I was their past tense mother, the mom who raised them. Now we were all "adults", my position, the one who takes care of holidays and pays household bills.
At the office, I could be replaced by a bookkeeper. My business card title, "Office Manager" was a misnomer for social secretary. I didn't have a real job and finding one outside of the office made no sense for what the business generated. I was simply an appendage, not necessary for anything. While trying to accompany my husband on business trips with his frequent flyer miles, I often was left home, alone.
He had his mistress, the business. Who was I, simply the provider of domestic tranquility? Financially well off, I became a Nordstrom's and Sak's Fifth Avenue attired ornament who spent half a day once a week at a salon, maintained shoulder-length hair, bathed in a bubble bath, used exotic lotions to keep a supple skin and layered it with expensive French lingerie. I drove an SL500 cream-colored hardtop Mercedes with a vanity license plate, in short, a stereotype rich, bitch, ornament, a title that didn’t annoy me.
It kept me from seeing myself as past tense but wasn’t enough to avoid a mid-life crisis; I needed something dramatic, a statement greater than wearing an orange dress.
After wishing for larger breasts since Erica I decided the ornament needed a boob job. They went from 34 B to 36 C on a summer afternoon in a plastic surgeon's office with periareolar saline implants, not into big boob bimbo, just a notch up, so I told myself. Once the soreness receded, I put on heels and stood naked before my full-length mirror and admired my new shape. Maybe I was a boob girl, they looked great.
They needed to be shown off, test-driven, if only Erica could see them. Shopping, I tried different outfits to see how to enhance them, selected bras that promoted them and developed other attire accents which made my presence known. I selected a perfume few wore to announce my presence by smell, wore heels which drew attention by their walking tap, decorated like a Christmas tree with expensive jewelry and used TV news anchorwomen as role dress models. It was a full 40-year old life crisis.
The attention my upscale appearance garnered ensured I wasn’t a past tense woman. I wanted men to notice my eyes, hair, neck nape, legs, clothes, and breasts, walking by, entering a building, getting in or out of a car, I wanted to be noticed, the opposite when young. I smiled thinking about my Pee Che folder hiding once upon a time. Now I was the crudely referred to, attention whore. It was fun to flirt as a 40-year old woman but only if men flirted back. I made sure they did.
With the enhancement, I was top-heavy. Like a teenager rapidly growing, my enhanced outline bumped into things. With their soreness eased, hubby having his playtime with them, my enhanced profile incorporated in my movements, it was time to see what they could accomplish.
While originally blaming my husband's swinging idea for my unfaithfulness, with Elliot I realized I was promiscuous and stopped blaming hubby for who I was, a woman addicted to affairs, their excitement, and self-esteem assurance. Affairs were a craved drug stimulant that controlled me. Even while with Elliot, I fantasized about milking three men. When it ended, I knew it was partly because it was time for his replacement.
After Elliot, I was honest with myself. I craved illicit sex and accepted I was going to continue being libidinous, the real reason for my breast augmentation, not for myself, not for hubby but for men yet to meet. I don't think even hubby believed it was all for him, though he had no objection and encouraged me when I brought up the idea.
I was a sex predator and wanted to experience more men before I was no longer desirable, difficult to admit until the honest realization, I was my father's daughter. The dilemma was not being faithful; it was keeping my addiction hidden. I wanted the sanctuary of marriage and affairs.
Reviewing my past, I realized Edward almost cost me my marriage. I stupidly thought my husband's swinging agenda would provide a rationale for his acceptance. Once his jealousy was exposed it was too late to stop seeing Edward. My lies it was over were not entirely convincing. It made my life schizophrenic, in love with 2 men, one dramatically changing me. More importantly, it remained the elephant in our marriage closet. With the elephant in there, we were not the same couple who married. It was never mentioned but we both had to move around it.
Enrico only played a sexual role and was easy to hide with his own need for cover. I was circumspect with Darryl and Elliot but much of my cover was due to my husband's preoccupation with business. If discovered hubby would be devastated. Even if still married afterward, we would no longer would be husband and wife, just two people living together. Like a spy; exposure meant death, death of our marriage.
I learned to compartmentalize two personas, not just physically but in everything and never commingle them. My duality was my reality. I kept separate memories, presents and future planning of each persona lived. To be two in one, the two puppet shadow characters couldn’t let the wrong word slip out, had to keep track of was said and done in each life and keep an escape hatch answer if questioned for a discrepancy.
If successful, the puppet shadow presented is unquestioned unless there is a tear in the screen.
I’d gambled and won but made unwise bets. I’d kept physical contact with, Enrico, Darryl, and Elliot limited unless there was a cover excuse; unlike foolishly done with Edward. Still, there were errors. The members of the broken “Affairs Club” circle knew too much. Rumors could spin out. With Elliot, t0o many knew he, me and could talk about his past. Even Darryl’s new love could come out to haunt me.
Time was my friend as my past mistakes drifted into the dream world of memory and out of collective consciousness. I couldn’t rely on luck in the future. Previously, my past infidelity was covered by lies on the wing as they occurred because I failed to recognize who I was.
I accept who I am. I’m a married woman who wants to be married to hubby who I love and admire but must not hurt.
I’m addicted to adultery.
Therefore, I’ll cheat but I’ll carefully manage my secret puppet shadow. Let events unfold, take advantage as opportunity present itself in a secured stealth mode. I'll be professional, a professional cheater.
With enhanced physical assets and mental enlightenment, I looked forward to the rest of my life.
Author Notes: With middle age crisis also comes the realization it is her and only her who is to blame for her wantonness.
Accepting herself she understands she needs stealth to keep her marriage.