There were a few motivators for planning the get-together. It had been a strange and emotional summer for the two of us. K’s father had passed away in July, and I was just in the throes of depressed living, ping ponging between moods due to a lack of medication and health insurance. As a result, K and I were desperate for something to celebrate and looking for an excuse to gather friends around and have a good time. So, when my then-boyfriend S passed his CPA exam, our reason for throwing a party presented itself.
Our guest list was a bit sketchy at best. As we invited guests in the days leading up to the party, there were several lapses in judgment and as a result, there were a few people in attendance who in retrospect had no business being there. Like the guy, with the girlfriend, who constantly straddled the line between flirting and infidelity. Or the guy who had no moral opposition to making out with you while your then-boyfriend was blacked out in the driveway. K and I weren’t the best at making decisions, especially then. We wanted excitement. We wanted friendship.
And we wanted wine, dammit.
Our crew assembled around 8 pm. K had spent time prepping food and decorating. I brought a few bottles of wine, and so did the majority of our guests. We gathered in the backyard, under the stars, carrying on and throwing back glasses of wine as if they were water. As we threw glass upon glass of wine back, we all got more loose-lipped, our boundaries became less rigid, and the drunken shenanigans had begun. S, having only consumed a small order of french fries on his way to the party, was first to fall victim to drunken decision making. As the group drank, ate, and carried on, I noticed that I hadn’t seen S is over ten minutes. I checked the bathrooms of the house to see if he was there, but he wasn’t. Our friends began looking for him as well. After several attempts to get in touch with him, he finally answered his cell phone and let us know that not only was he shitfaced, but he wandered off the property and had gotten lost somewhere in the neighborhood. A search party assembled and took to the streets to find him. If I remember correctly, he was lying down in someone’s lawn when he was found, three blocks away from K’s house.
It was at that point that the entire event began to unravel. The guy with the girlfriend and the questionable morals (we’ll call him A-hole) was attempting to corner K, probably wooing her with some Joy Division reference or something equally pretentious. The guy with no qualms about making moves on attached women was attempting to corner me as S lay in the driveway, expelling the contents of his stomach without anyone really overseeing or caring.
Shit got weird, dude.
Everything was winding down. Mister Makeout found someone else to harass after I pushed him away when he tried to kiss me. Mister Joy Division continued to play the “nice guy” with K, but didn’t make any overt come-ons (at that time, anyway). S, having finished vomiting, became verbally abusing towards me, which was a side of him that I had never seen. It started with comments about my driving, specifically how I release my parking break, and then spiraled out of control. I contemplated leaving him in K’s lawn until morning, but my drunk conscience wouldn’t allow it. I piled him into my passenger seat and drove the three blocks to my parents house. He slept on the futon, and I slept in my room and locked the door. In the morning, around 7, he went back to K’s house, retrieved his car, and left. I was still intoxicated.
After over ten bottles of wine, three loaves of bread, copious amounts of cheese, and some damn delicious smoked salmon, all that was left was bad decisions, bruised egos, and the beginning of the end of my relationship with S.
Funnily enough, I spent time with K yesterday. She was visiting her mom for the weekend and I had stopped by to see my parents for a bit. We drank coffee and sat on her stoop, just like we’d done for the better part of a decade. I let her know about the anniversary of the wine party. We talked, rehashed it, cringed quite a bit, and talked about A-hole and S. S still asks if K knows what he said to me that night. Apparently he still worries about it.
For a brief moment, I suggested to K that we should sit at the picnic table in the backyard, where it all happened. She said she’d prefer our usual stoop-sit, but said we could visit it for a bit after. But after an hour of good conversation, when she asked me if I wanted to check out the backyard, I declined and opted to leave the past in the past. We both nodded and took that moment in. I went back home, and K packed up to take a train back to New York City. That was that.
I want to tell you that I learned something valuable that night or had a moment of self-discovery, but that would be lying. I was still young and dumb enough to repeat the same mistakes two, three, or ten times before finally declaring enough is enough. All I’ve got is the memories, and that’s just fine. That’s more than enough.
Your song of the day is “Between the Bars” by Elliott Smith, as it kind of illustrates the underlying sadness of the evening. Lyrics of note:
Drink up with me now, forget all about
The pressure of days, do what I say
And I’ll make you okay, drive them away
The image is stuck in your head