A daycare center my friend and I created and operated in her house that was a two story 1920’s tan Tudor like my husband’s and mine just down the street. Her husband went off to his law firm in a suit every morning while we fed, diapered, and tutored a boisterous bunch of toddlers and preschoolers in our non-sexist, non-racist, educational day care program.

A neighborhood toga party at a house across the street from the daycare. I can’t even remember what he said to me but when he phoned the next day, I agreed to meet him.

The dark penthouse bar with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city lights. Talking in whispers even though we didn’t know anyone there and the place was quiet and almost empty. It was the first time I had ever been out with any man other than my husband — my first and only love whom I’d married when I was twenty and planned to live with the rest of my life. I ordered a glass of wine to calm my unease — and temper the thrill.

The sunny breakfast nook in my house where I told my husband I intended to start seeing another man. I said it didn’t mean I loved him less. Our love, our marriage was strong. Quavering a little inside I looked him in the eye and said he was free to do the same. He resisted at first, but it was not long before he agreed. I admit I had to struggle to stifle a pang of jealousy a few weeks later when I saw that he was happily seeing several women and letting our friends know.

The other man’s house which was the daycare center since he was my friend’s husband. He told her about us after I had told my husband. My friend told me she thought it would be an intriguing social experiment and confided that it freed her to continue what she was already doing. She was the most free-spirited friend I’d ever had. She was enrolled in college but took mainly dance and art and music classes in no hurry to get her degree. I think she and I were both reading “Open Marriage” by Nena and George O’Neill. It was a popular book in 1973 that philosophized about independence, communication, role flexibility, and trust in relationships. Love and sex without jealousy. She and I worked together almost every day and continued to be friends.

The office in my home where my husband and I ran a publishing and consulting company. I worked at home researching and writing curriculum in areas of immigration, environmental sciences, nonsexist education, and bicycle safety. Or any other topic our contracts called for. My husband networked, made contacts, and drummed up new business. I worked at home and was always on call for the day care.

My bathroom where in the mornings I’d look in the mirror and wonder what I was doing. Vacillating between stopping this craziness and girding myself with feminist philosophy and trying to convince myself I could justify whatever implications this had for our daughter. Knowing I never could. Asking myself how I would explain this to my parents. Knowing I never would. And forgiving myself with the idea that as long as my husband and I agreed on the arrangement, it was not cheating.

The suburban apartment of the other man’s friend on a lake where we snuck away on summer afternoons. And rarely went out in the boat.

A neighborhood park down the hill from our houses where we met when he said something to the effect of the England Dan and John Ford Coley song “a warm wind is blowing the stars around and I really want to see you tonight.” The line“ I don’t want to move in and I really don’t want to change your life” was my theme but not his as it turned out.

In an Irish Pub serving green beer on St. Patrick’s Day with a blizzard raging outside, he told me he loved me and wanted us to be together – not in an open marriage. I realized I was in love with him.

Car ride coming returning from a weekend trip to the North Shore. He said he would not continue seeing me unless I left my husband and moved in with him. I cried all the way home. I hadn’t wanted to have to make a choice. I thought I could have it all.

          The house he rented after he left his wife.
          An apartment I rented after I left my husband.
          A house we bought together and lived in for four years.


Sherri Wright is a member of the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild and Key West Poetry Guild. She lives with her husband in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where she walks, practices yoga, and volunteers for a local food rescue. Her work appears in Bluebird Word, Rat’s Ass Review, Delaware Beach Life, and Quartet.