Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress is a cautionary tale about the causal relationship between marital emotional neglect and questionable choices. It is a warning for the spouse who wants to dismiss an affair as just sex or for any woman who thinks love is enough to keep a man that isn’t really hers.
“You never know what happens between two people when they are alone” is a common sentiment reserved for married couples who appear to have relationships that defy the odds. The same can also be said for couples involved in long-term adulterous affairs.
Many people believe that infidelity is only about sex: two people, one hotel room, and a few hours to spare. And Megan van Eyck’s extramarital affair began just like that, with lusty hours spent between hotel sheets. But within a few months van Eyck realized she had found what she and her lover did not know they were both looking for: true love.
Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress offers an honest look behind closed doors. It is a forthcoming, sometimes steamy, account of both the passion and the heartbreak associated with being a mistress; about the futility of sharing a love while not sharing a life. Van Eyck is reflective as she addresses her compelling and unusual personal history, which made being the other woman an acceptable option. She makes no excuses for herself, her mistakes, or her betrayal of her husband as she recklessly pursues love. She wants everything, unabashedly.
But her priorities shift when Carlos, her lover, is diagnosed with Amyloidosis, a rare blood disorder. Her concerns shift for hoping for a life with him to hoping that he’ll be able to live through treatment for this rare and incurable disease. In the end, van Eyck must not only come to terms with her loss, mistakes and regrets, she must come to terms with herself.
Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress is must read for anyone that has struggled with love, intimacy or self-acceptance. Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress will captivate supporters, surprise critics and change the perspective of those that have ever considered having an affair.
Read the Excerpt!
Days later, as I dressed for our get-together, I couldn’t decide what to wear. Pants or skirt? Heels or flats? I’d held onto some of the prettiness I had possessed in my happier years and I still expected the room to pause a moment when I entered: women glaring and men looking up from their chairs with a hint of something naughty in their eyes. My vanity was my safe place, my armor. Whenever I felt insecure or uncertain, I hid in my blondeness, appreciating its little conveniences and finding refuge in its stereotypes; it was easier being blonde than not. It was easier being pretty than not. I decided on khaki culottes, a proper well-fitting white cardigan, and flats—an outfit perfect in its suburban pristine inaccessibility.
Carlos had spoken affectionately of his wife and it seemed clear that love was in his life. The thought put me at ease as I styled my hair. I rationalized away notions of a fleeting daydream of him. Even if we were available to each other, this man was way out of my league, no doubt about it. He seemed worldly, successful, sexy, and smart. Men like that, married or not, never liked me past the first forty-eight hours—the time it takes to get a woman to bed, or accept the fact that it’s never going to happen. Now that I was married, it never did. He’d given no sign of being a predatory man. I didn’t get the feeling he was looking for a burger and a conquest over lunch. I sprayed my blonde curls with finishing spray and topped it all off with a little pink lip gloss and flowery perfume.
Hours later, as I waited in the restaurant, I felt frumpy and detached from my former siren self: a spectator of my own absurdity. Perhaps I should have chosen the pumps . . . what was I doing? As I sat emotionally torn between wanting a harmless flirtation to redeem my waning vibrancy and a growing friendship to nourish something unshakably lonely and desperate at my core, it hit me that I was sitting alone, waiting to having a secret lunch with a married man at a restaurant that was about an hour’s drive from either of our homes. In that instant, it occurred to me that he might have misunderstood my intentions. I took a big gulp of water and resented myself with my mixed signals and the traps they always laid for me. I was happy I’d chosen the flats.
I was unnerved at my own brazen stupidity. What if he thought I wanted to get together for a little afternoon delight—a little something on the side? As I sat waiting, nibbling on a buttered roll, insecurities battled in my head. Would he be angry if I had to reject him, if he had arranged this far-away sales call for nothing? Would he end up just being another jerk? I dismissed all of it as silliness, welcoming the opportunity to revisit our casual easy closeness. He’d made it clear that he loved his wife, that his life was content and satisfying.
I looked at my watch. He was late. I called. He said he was lost, but circling the area. I left our booth, walked through the restaurant, out the front door and onto the sidewalk hoping he would see me as he drove around the block. I stepped into the warm rays of the spring sunshine, taking a deep breath of caution and hope. I looked to my left, stores lined the avenue; awnings flapped in the warm gusty breeze. Then I saw a black Audi park on the road, shiny as a pair of new patent leather Mary Janes. A familiar silhouette emerged from the car and there he was, walking toward me, wearing a navy summer-weight suit, seducing me at first glance.
Seeing him brought an unexpected tsunami of overwhelming desire and longing. I could feel his nearness in the pit of my stomach as we made our way to our table. Sitting across from each other the inevitability of our future indiscretion was instantly unmistakable. Anticipated. As we chatted and laughed, desire stirred in the space between us.
Our conversation is a vague memory, but I do remember my insistent ache for him, needing to be near him as I had been on the plane. I moved over from across the table and sat next to him. He cleared his throat and turned toward me. He leaned in, as if he were going to kiss me, and then pulled away. His fingers fidgeted awkwardly with his fork and knife, realigning them on his napkin. I placed his hand on my thigh. It was an unabashed invitation, not a shy question. I knew we shared the same lust as I looked into his eyes, as I heard his breath quicken. His hand caressed my thigh, a promise of a longing to be fulfilled.
That afternoon we sat at our booth, tucked away from the world eating our salads, our eyes wheeling and dealing sex as we talked about the weather. He was impossible to resist and nothing in me wanted to try. He was warm and seductive. He smelled of starch and cologne, like the men’s section at Nordstrom. His words felt like kisses at the nape of my neck. We looked at each other as if we were already in the afterglow.
After lunch, we crossed the street to the lush green park that was across the way. We sat together on a bench under a large maple tree that was dense with spring leaves, full of future and promise. On that old wooden bench, with its chipped paint and rickety leg that made us teeter to and fro, we agreed to actualize the lust that was panging around inside of us both like shiny silver balls in a pinball machine. We promised each other a one-night stand, nothing more. Soon. But one night in the distant uncertain future wasn’t enough for him.
“Megan, I want to kiss you right here, right now, on this bench. You know that, don’t you? Can I at least have a kiss? I want to go home, think of you, and know these feelings are something that we share.”
I couldn’t. Time had slowed down as if each moment was a part of a long forever, and then sped up as if those moments had already happened all at once: emotional whiplash. It was all going so fast and was so unexpected; I had to catch my breath before I did something I could not undo.
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- Deadline is midnight on April 23, 2011. Winner will be announced on April 25.