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  • Writer's picturecocodensmore

Six fucking years.

April 27, 2024


When you’re in something, really living something, in the thick of it, you believe that is who you are, that is the thing that will define you forever.


Mistress.


It’s such a stupid, old-fashioned word.


Mistress.


People have taken to calling their married lovers their “affair partners” or AP for short. But that cleans it up. You can call it infidelity, but that cleans it up, too.


It’s Cheating.


The story is so old, and it plays out a million times a day. Millions of times a day.

I picked up with Season 4 of Sex and the City. For no reason whatsoever. In Episode 9, Carrie is happily involved with Aiden. She runs into Big, now married Big. There’s a bit of tug and pull and pulling back and stepping into it and they begin an affair.


It feels so familiar, so painfully familiar. I ran through all those feelings again. Somehow, I didn’t end up sobbing. Today is a little better day than I’ve had of late. It’s 10 am and I haven’t cried yet, despite watching Carrie and Big’s affair play out.

So many things I remember. So many things are the same. And that is because the story is so old, and it plays out a million times a day. Millions of times a day.


I remember lying in bed with Married Man after sex, playing with his left hand, twirling his ring around his finger. It was a little bit too big. It was a little bit too loose. I remember that feeling of stolen time, when he rushed to dress after. Rushed. When I noticed he’d never taken off his socks to make it all go faster, after. When he lapsed into total preoccupation with his real life. When I became an afterthought. It wasn’t him being callous, nothing like that, it was the fact he had obligations, and I was not one of them. His only obligation to me was to keep me on the side, but that was an obligation to himself, not to me. I knew that.


I liked to pretend in my mind that he loved me. But he didn’t. I do think he cared about me, but so what? He cared more about himself. Can I claim any different? I cannot. I was in it for all the wrong reasons, for woefully dishonorable reasons. Namely Selfishness.


In Episode 11, Big’s wife, Natasha, catches Carrie trying to flee their apartment out the back, chases her down the stairs, falls and hits her face, breaking a tooth. Carrie rushes her to the hospital in a taxi. Big shows up and meets Carrie in the waiting room.


It’s over.


“We’re so over. We need a new word for over,” Carrie says.


Big’s wife found out.


I told Married Man’s wife.


The shame of that memory floods me with heat, red heat, red pain, red shame.

And then I remember it’s been over for more than six years.


Six fucking years.


And I remember that I’m not a mistress anymore. I remember I don’t do that anymore. I remember I wouldn’t do that now, at least I don’t think I would. No, I wouldn’t. Because I’ve had opportunities. I’m just not interested. I don’t need to do that anymore.


And then I come back to right now, more than six years after all that ugliness. I’m back here, sitting in this lovely little apartment in Northeast Portland, where I’ve taken a break from my Reformed Theology homework, because I’m in seminary you see, to watch Sex and the City.


My life could not be more different than it was six years ago. Am I a better person? Yes, in some ways. Am I living a more “moral” life? Yes, in some ways. I guess, yes, all of that. But that doesn’t erase who I was. And that Coco lives inside of me, will always live inside of me, will always be a part of my story, of who I am. That destruction I wrought, it will never be erased.


Wow.


I wonder if I’ll ever be done with beating myself up about that affair. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to love and embrace that person I was. I’d like to do that. Because that person six years ago is part of my story; she will always be an integral part of who I am. I don’t want to hate her. I guess I don’t, not anymore. Not as much, anyway.


Good news, though.


I’m Not a Mistress now.


I’m Not Cheating now.


And that’s a very good feeling. I’m in a very good place. Just still sad, but at least not living in shame. It’s awful to live inside of shame. Awful. I’m out of that. So that’s good. Progress.


I Persevere. And life goes on.


“I couldn’t help but wonder, no matter how far you travel, or how much you run from it, can you ever really escape your past?” Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City, Season 4, Episode 13

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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