A Tale of Two Women
Anita was having the best of times, Gwen was having the worst of times.
Anita was laughing at a comedian Gwen didn’t find at all funny. Anita was enjoying the meal, Gwen could barely choke down a bite.
Some hours ago, Gwen had, again, caught her husband with another woman.
Gwen had, again, made her ultimatums.
Gwen had, again, forced herself to stay with Abe because....she forgot why she had to stay with Abe right now.
All Gwen knew was that Abe had spoiled another day in her life.
And although he wasn’t physically here, no man was, for this was the Women’s Movement’s Annual dinner, Abe was sitting in her head like a tumor.
Anita was enjoying herself. The venue was fantastic, the food was great, the people were exhilarating.
Anita had tried to perk up Gwen’s ‘vibes’. She had tried, but gave up. There was no sense in making herself miserable on Gwen’s behalf.
If Gwen wanted to wallow in her husband’s adultery, fine She could wallow. Anita would not.
The dinner was ending, The members were saying good night with check kisses
hugs, jokes...Gwen didn’t want to go home.
Anita saw it. To make conversation; “It was a great dinner...” she said.
“I didn’t notice.” Gwen snapped.
“That because you’ve got Abe on the Brain.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.” growled Gwen.
“You don’t have to talk about it Everyone knows about it. “
“Go away now Anita...”
“Thanks, I will.”
Anita, hanging up her Good Samaritan efforts, went to her car and called her husband.
“Hi Hon, on my way, just leaving the Wyndham. Should be no more than thirty minutes.”
She called so Howie would get back to the house, get rid of his girl friend, clean up any mess, and she wouldn’t have to ‘catch him.’
Thinking about the Past
The first time Anita caught Howie she was devastated. After all she’d done for him, that he could betray her with someone like Hortense, well it killed her. It absolutely killed her.
He swore, he promised, he begged.
It took a month, a full month, for Anita to be able to function. To appear to get over it. But Anita did not get over her husband's adultery.
She appreciated that it probably was not the first time and only a matter of time for Howie to be unfaithful again.
Then Anita realised that she didn’t have to ever get ‘over it’, She realised she could leave as a sign post. Leave it, and use it.
Use it to give her carte blanche.
Anita took it as permission that she could do what she wanted. No matter what, she had no limits. After all, Howie had already broken the vows.
It was Howie who broke the vows, Howie who begged her forgiveness. Howie not her. But, it was like pieces off a cut cake.
Howie cut it, and she could take slices whenever she wanted.
Anita decided she had to talk to Gwen. The woman was at least ten years younger that she was, looked ten years older, and was miserable.
Anita knew when Gwen shopped so 'bumped' into her at the supermarket.
“Let me buy you coffee, we can shop later.” Anita offered.
“I have to get home.” Gwen snapped
“To an empty house?”
Gwen looked at Anita with dripping hate.
“Sweetie, my Howie can’t keep his zipper closed. If ten women work at his office, he has slept with at least five of them. And the only reason he hasn’t slept with the others is either because they are old enough to be his mother, happily married, or with a guy that looks better than he does.”
“Why do you put up with it?”
“My dear; while the cat’s away, this kitten can play,” and Anita did the sexiest meow ever. Gwen laughed in spite of herself, let go of the cart and they went to a little restaurant.
Anita went over the first time with Howie and how she dealt with it. Gwen asked a lot of questions.
Anita had answers.
“The first thing is to go to a gym and reclaim your body. After two or three visits you’ll feel in control and look better. Then you keep your eyes open and make yourself available. Even if you don’t meet anyone, you act as if you will. Then you take yourself places. You stop staying home alone. “
Gwen could not believe what she was hearing.
Anita was the last woman she would expect to be ‘wild’. Anita was a modestly dressed professional about whom not a single unpleasant word had been passed.
Gwen felt so off balance she was unsure if she should listen, if she should even consider what Anita was saying and blurted...
“So you have a ... lover?”
“A? One? Of course not! I have many! " Anita laughed. "Never depend on one man. Why should I leave Howie because I fell in love with Mark, and then Mark cheats on me with Fiona and I get another broken heart? Better I see Mark, and Jerry, and Victor, on and on, different men, different places, different times, so that all they are to me is fun. "
Gwen couldn't believe what she was hearing.
"Do you know I laugh in bed? When I make love to my lovers, I’m laughing, and they are laughing and we are having nothing but fun. So when I come home, I’m feeling great. There is no drama. It’s all comedy.”
Gwen was so stunned she could not process the information.Then Anita asked;
“Which days does Abe stay out to about midnight?”
“The usual, Friday/Saturday.”
“Okay...now I’ll pick you up ten minutes after he leaves...”
“He doesn’t come home on Friday, he works late...”
“Fantastic! I’ll pick you up at work, and well go to one of my favourite places, it's a meeting of a really interesting group; we discuss movies. This week we are talking about Casablanca, take a look on line. We meet at the Green Leaf Hotel at 5:30. The meal is paid for by our dues and we talk about the movie. The M.C. will run some clips, and the people there are fantastic. You’ll meet someone. If you don’t so what? You went out.”
Gwen left, getting halfway home before she realised she hadn’t shopped. She stopped and bought a few things from a local shop, got home and went into the bathroom, just to confine her mind.
At the Club
Gwen hadn’t decided whether to go or not when Anita came to pick her up. Gwen tried to decline but Anita ignored her.
The next thing she knew is she was at the Green Leaf.
There were a few dozen people all animated, and soon, she was engaged in conversation. She spoke to everyone and had a wonderful evening.
She was very hyper in the car as Anita drove her back to the office so she could get her own vehicle.
"Thanks so much! I think I really want to join that Club!" Gwen smiled.
The Friday meetings were only one of the activities Anita set for her. There was the gym each Monday and Wednesday evening from 5 to 7. There was the Saturday 'Girls Night Out' and a sprinkling of special events during a month.
Gwen met a number of men and although she was a bit reluctant to go beyond seeing them at the Club, over time she ran into them at other places, had a few lunches, and a few dinners, and soon enough, she had a life not too different from Anita.
"It is a far, far better thing I do..." Gwen thought the first time she had sex with Vic.