I fucking hate parties. There is nothing about them that I would consider fun. Truly – this is not a joke or a #relatable bullshit storm. The music is always too loud; the apartment is always too small, and, being the socially inept mop/bird/monster that I am, they are always uncomfortable and exhausting to attend. “Hi, nice to meet you! Oh, yes, Calvin’s spoken so fondly of you. Oh yeah, playing bass is very tricky, it’s true. Tell me more about your wealth and fame?” I’m good with people, but I don’t like them very much. I don’t drink, and I don’t smoke, but this is college and I desperately want to make friends. So. Let’s go.
I should mention that I did not attend this particular party alone. I knew two people in attendance: the hostess (uniquely funny, talented, obviously wealthy and sexy and all-around better than me), and Calvin James Rezen. He was in my class. He was cute. I liked him, and he knew that. He liked me, too, and we had even kissed a couple of times, but we hadn’t solidified a relationship. But I was working on it.
This party was going just about as well as the rest: lack-luster half-conversations with incapacitated people and a constant almost desperate search for peanuts or guacamole or any kind of nourishment to occupy my sweaty hands. I look over my shoulder and see my boy, Calvin James Rezen, with his arm around the waist of a girl in a velvet dress.
That’s a nice dress. Who’s –
The beautiful-talented-wealthy-better-than-me hostess. That’s who is.
No, not her.
Oh please, God or Holy Universe or whatever, if you truly do love me or care about my well-being at all, have it be anyone but her.
She was smiling. Her hair was dark and thick, and it curled into tendrils around her face. He pulled her a little closer and whispered something to her. Even from across the room, I could feel the warmth of his breath on her neck.
Goosebumps of Irish gloom ran along my back and sent invisible fireworks into the air above my head, screeching “Heyyy, remember when you told me I was funny and that I ‘get it’? Remember when you said you loved to hold me?! Remember what I offer?”
I wanted to yell at him or throw my shoes, but I couldn’t do that (because I’m an adult), so I just ate a Snicker’s bar and yelled into my palm once, shrilly enough to be heard but random enough to be ignored (because I’m an adult).
What do I do now.
I looked at my feet dangling off the leather bar-stool. What do you guys think?
He wasn’t my boyfriend and I wasn’t his girlfriend and I had no right to feel this way. All dejected and unwanted and fooled and like dog-shit on the sidewalk.
Hit on the bass player. That’ll teach him.
She gazed up at him lovingly with her big doe eyes and I felt my head begin to burn.
Hit him with the microwave. Steal her dress. Take vocal lessons – no! – learn how to play the drums. Or the trumpet. Be better than her – be so good he’d be stupid to pass you up.
I think fire came out of my nose.
He was laughing now, too. He was having such a good time. And certainly not as a result of anything I was doing. I was trying my best, but my best was subpar. I was not the belle of the ball – I was a background character in his rom com and none of it mattered.
I couldn’t do this thing.
I couldn’t do this college party thing. I couldn’t do this bad conversations about nothing thing. I couldn’t do this friend-but-more-than-a-friend thing.
I’m too emotional. I’m too loyal. I’m too sensitive and cynical and competitive for any of the things I was doing. Why was I doing them.
So I left.
And he followed me.
And we kissed, and then we fell in love.
So I don’t go to parties anymore.