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A few days later they have another Ceremony. This time, though, the narrator's more uncomfortable. Before she could just check out and treat the Ceremony like another unpleasant experience. After hanging out with the Commander, though, she can't do that anymore. He seems to have changed, too.
The narrator feels envious of, and shamefaced around, Serena Joy. She still has control over her, but now the narrator has something the Wife doesn't. She tells the Commander he can't act differently during the Ceremony or Serena Joy might figure things out.
She flashes back to something Aunt Lydia used to say: women would be better off in a few years when they'd been Handmaids for a while. Conditions would improve. These were among the small promises made to placate the women at the Center.
The narrator thinks about the Commander again, deciding that she's basically his mistress. That kind of relationship hasn't changed, even though so much else has. She worries briefly that Serena Joy might know.
More importantly, she likes being treated as more than an object used for fertility; the Commander reminds her that she's not nothing.