Tanja Cilia: The Mistress at Christmas

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Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require

Admin Note: We offer these images to our members to spark a story. Some will be literal in their interpretation and some choose the more abstract path. Tanja Cilia says the image above speaks of emptiness and loneliness to her and her story is about four women who share those traits. Enjoy.

The Mistress at Christmas

By Tanja Cilia

Lucienne: When I was Miss Goody Two-Shoes, I wondered how a person who has stolen someone else’s husband could be so blasé and supercilious about it.

My father would probably have a heart attack if he found out what I’m doing. Since mum died, ten years ago, I know he has dated — but he has never brought a woman home… he’s that strait-laced.

It’s an addiction — I cannot live with him, but I cannot live without him. We work in the same building, for different companies, so I was fated to meet him. As they say, I chased him till he caught me.

People accuse mistresses of breaking up marriages; I’ve actually sellotaped his. He was on the verge of leaving his wife before he met me; she nags, and her cooking consists of opening tins and packets if it’s not takeaways. I persuaded him to stay; it suits me better like this.

I have made my own arrangements for the festive period — but I will cancel them at the drop of a hat if he manages to shake her off for an hour or two.


Katie: Most people picture a mistress as a predator with figure-hugging clothes and perfect make-up. I’m not — but his wife is. I’m just this side of chubby, and homely, and I don’t dye my hair or do my nails. He says I am a refreshing change from his high-maintenance spouse.

When I’m with him, I feel like a teenager again; he says I’m like a breath of fresh air after her speciousness; to her, a broken manicured fingernail is a tragedy, go figure a hair sprouting on her chin.

Too much is at stake for both of us to go public. But I know I have been his only “other woman” for the last sixteen years — I’ve had him followed by a private detective several times.

They will be having a family meal at a hotel with the rest of her stuck-up family. Me? I’m having snack soup and beans on toast. Who cares, when I can cook up a feast for him whenever he comes over?


Maria: He is old enough to be my… uncle. Still, I regret not being able to flaunt him.

Meeting him was a Sliding Doors meets Benny Hill moment. I had treated my friend’s twins to an outing. They were careening towards the ice-cream compartment of the supermarket and they bumped into him, making him drop a dozen-pack carton of eggs. “Double trouble!” he said. I stuttered that they weren’t my sons. He said that blushing suits me.

Talk about audacity and duplicity… the next time I saw him, I was alone — and he was with his wife. I was simultaneously spooked, intrigued, and turned on, to realise that he was pushing the trolley and intentionally leading her, to follow me; she didn’t even notice.

He dexterously palmed his business card into my jacket pocket, and of course, I followed through. This was three years ago. He has spoiled me for other men; those of my age-group seem so childish now. They don’t have his manners, charisma, and gentleness.

So I sort of understand why this “imperfect gentleman” cannot be mine these days.


Carmen: “The Other Woman” is his wife. I come first in everything, except in his will. But otherwise, I’m well looked after — after all, I have to look nice for him, don’t I? No, I am not mercenary… I just have a lot of common sense.

At his insistence, I have told my best friend about him, just in case something happens to me and he won’t be in a position to know. She has his phone number, and we have prepared a coded conversation. If anything happened to him, I’d know soon enough, because… just because things are the way they are.

As a child, I’d always imagined that at my age (thirty last birthday) I’d be settled down with six kids, as my mum was. But, frankly, I’m enjoying almost being almost married, without being manacled to a husband, and having to answer to anyone about my abrupt movements.

On my birthday (which I share with one of his children), on Valentine’s Day, and at Christmas, I feel wretched, nonetheless. He always makes up for it, though.

I went into this with my eyes wide open but I resent it, still.

I never berate him for not calling, and I am not always available when he wants to meet me. This keeps him keen. He’d be astonished to learn I cry for him most nights. My biological clock is ticking merrily away, and this really hits me when all my siblings come to my house for the Christmas meal, with their children.

I know his wife. We were in the same class at school. We are Facebook friends, and this helps me keep tabs on him.

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Please visit Tanja on her blog: https://paperjacketblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/01/the-mistress-at-christmas-2/