I should’ve known better than to agree to go to this party, but we haven’t been out of the house in months and have been at each other’s throats for even longer. This bathroom sickens me almost as much as he does, but he has yet to, and that is going on three months now, fixed the shower in my bathroom so I am forced to use the urine infested, grit and grime infused outhouse he calls a lavatory. I swear every time I step in here I need an astronaut’s suit and level II antibiotics just to avoid a tapeworm. I hate him like poison. I hate his friends, my friends, and our friends. This night is such a bad idea. I don’t even like him. How could I have been so stupid to have stayed this long? Tonight cannot be considered the beginning of the end. That moment was back in June.
Our oil stained driveway marred an otherwise promising residential block and weeks old editions of the local gazette engulfed the front yard, ironically spreading the word that our relationship was in fact, also yesterday’s news. Uneven blades of fresh summer grass were promised a shave and a haircut yet only grew and grew. Similar to the belly, waistline and toenails of a man who went from the love of my life to someone I loathe at first sight. The garage was blocked for months by bags of horse shit, or by the more perfunctory definition “His college football stuff, honey”. Uggh, honey, how could a word so sweet come out of the mouth of such a sour ass bag. And now, I’m bitter. Still I manage to drag myself into the only bastion of sanctity and free time I have left in this house, my closet, and I begrudgingly finish getting ready for this god-awful party.
Not surprisingly we argue the whole way there. He seems to think I’m supposed to care that he is a man with needs and wants, and how that somehow gives him the right to disregard my own. He actually believes that I still want him or his penis. Evidenced by him mercilessly referring to the latter over and over again, and how I don’t want it anymore, and how much I used to want it, and yada, yada, yada. God, I swear every time he forms his ugly disgusting lips to form the words “my” and “penis”, and then have the gall to use them in the same sentence, I throw up in my mouth. And in a sacrifice that mirrors the bowels of hell in which I have placed myself, I always swallow it without flinching.
We stop at a gas station along the way and I began to seethe internally at how the mere sound of his breathing. The stench of his body odor. That fruit of the loom jammed up his ass cause I’m the last douche on the New England countryside without boxers walk of his just makes me long for my days attending college when hundreds of hot young coeds wanted to make me their one and only. Foolishly I was blinded by the glare of long passes and astonishing athletic accomplishments of the stud, star college quarterback with Adonis legs that stretched firm and long until the word Nike blazoned upon his shoes inevitably had to cut them off. Back on the road he remarks on how Mary Steiner may be there and how she just got promoted and is excited to share the news with everyone. Mary is a the kinda whore who will screw anything with a business card printed with even a remotely respectable font, scheme and color tone.
Immediately I know how she got this big promotion she is dying to harp about. She works at BD & Wailer whose CEO is none other than Mark Toopcary who is the biggest poon hound since John Fitzgerald Kennedy prowled the hallowed halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He probably jumped her bones and gave her a useless promotion along with a stain on one, or many, of her cheap off the rack blouses as a show of gratitude. What a worthless little twit she is. I mumble bluntly under my breath, audible but just barely. “Maybe you should cheat on me and sleep with her.” He shrugs his Neanderthal shoulders as if he didn’t hear me and we arrive at the dinner party for what I am almost certain is sure to be filled with puppets posing as actual people with absolutely nothing remotely interesting about them at all. Laboratory monkeys spouting tepid, insipid conversation better suited for lobotomy outpatient care than anyone with a shred of common sense. It’s as if these people use that magic 8 ball toy for any and all conversation pieces. Pontificating such banality like “It is decidedly so”, or “Cannot predict now”. As if their words somehow carry more of a profound knowledgeable heft or meaning than those of us who aren’t perpetual recovering stroke victims.
He rings the doorbell and places his arm around my shoulder and I shutter. I felt distant and totally unattracted to him at that moment. It's as if I could actually feel my coital juices drying up and my body jettison right to its utmost menopausal stage with every touch, every movement of his chest from every breathe that entered and exited due to every ignorable word he spoke. I think back to the times I supported all the utterly unambitious, foolish, shitfaced ideas he came up with when he was shitfaced. My personal favorite was last winter’s snow removal venture, an idea he said whose time had come. Didn’t matter that he didn’t have a plow. Why? Because barley, hops and a third-grade ingenuity were all he would ever need. I become sick again, and just in time.
The door swings open and standing before us is none other than Jack Spencer, airhead male secretary. A fact he futilely tries to cover up by shamelessly mentioning that it’s for one of the most prestigious law firms in Boston. As if that disclaimer somehow will allot him a few more inches in groinal manhood from the alpha gods. A flaccid unintelligent man, Jack has no idea how to please a woman. Unfortunately for him, and courtesy of Mrs. Spencer, I am privy to this tiny morsel of steamy information in a world otherwise dominated by triviality. The man is so incessantly dumb, he thought dictation was some kind of S&M trip. Jack welcomes us in and takes our coats then leads us along a hallway filled with portraits of parents, kids and relatives. I’ve always felt they had remarkably bland and boring children and seeing them plastered on poorly colored walls in a home clearly decorated by assholes only hammers this poignant thought home. Jack sees us into the study where several other folks who we haven’t met before are seated or standing, mingling and enjoying Fernet Brancas. Our incompetently impotent hosts instructs us to wait in the study until the other guests arrive. “We must be early.” I whisper to the buffon.
That’s great. Now we have to add even more pedantic souls to our ever growing list. Fifteen minutes pass and I began to get antsy and wonder why no one else has arrived for this party. Have they too gotten wind of how mind-blowingly miserable this affair and its inhabitants will be and that how seeing any of these people outside of their being in a casket at a funeral is just a complete waste of time? I feel a cold, dead hand grasp mine and I turn and see his aged face. Immediately my teeth begin to grind. “You drinking?” He bellows, drink already in hand.
Selfish prick I think as I bark back in his direction to just bring me a glass of the red. Then suddenly the night gets worse from the stentorian sound of dread.
“There you are, you've been hiding from me haven't you.” I instantly recognize the shrill voice and realize I’ve been unluckily plucked from the crowd and unwillingly chosen as the receiver of whatever tasteless gossip the aforementioned Judith Spencer is ready, eager, and willing to tell with venomous intent and through smoke-tinged veneers. She begins to regale me with tales of her neighbor’s daughter who has recently had a baby out of wedlock. The self-righteous, snobbish attitudes shared by these uncaring, listless, zombie-like personalities, along with my boorish significant other, the unquestioned leader of this pseudo-yuppie cult. Have all been thrown together into this melting pot. Naturally I internally boil over and I triumphantly have an epiphany. He finally returns with my drink and I quickly chug two large swallows of hardly palatable, cheap pinot noir of the corner liquor store variety. I determine that the only way I am going to make it through him, them, or this insufferable night, is to create my own fun through fervor, disdain, and imagination. That and an obscene amount of cheap booze.
Four glasses of wine later Jack arrives back to the study and retrieves the group for dinner. I had become increasingly good over the years when we attended parties or gatherings of sneaking away from the idiot I had married. It was became fun escaping his presence and the perception of the other guests that we were a happy couple or that we even came together for that matter. It had become one of my favorite party favors to create my own brand of mischief. Up to that point I had managed to dip my fingers in at least three of the glasses of wine I had drank in order to rub tiny amounts of it into the seams and corners of each of the powder blue alpaca throw pillows adorning the sofa. This had caused each of them to have a unique, impossible to remove, red stained hue. Oh to be a fly on the wall the next time Judith has the neighbors over and she becomes the butt of the gossip mill as one of them will inevitably sit and lean back against said pillows, notice a stain too close to their cashmere, silk, or some other pretentious fabric ultimately ruining Mrs. Spencer’s undeserving reputation all in one fell swoop. I am now eager for dinner as I have grown hungry through alcohol consumption by volume and the chewing but spitting out of pre-dinner Watercress finger sandwiches into potted plants throughout the study.
Upon entering the dining room I continue utilizing my evasive skills and dart towards the first single vacant seat with surrounding occupied seats and hurriedly down the glass of wine designated for its place before calling instantly for another. “Very funny, what’s got into you tonight?” he says shrewdly while tapping my shoulder acknowledging the fact he cannot sit down next to me.
“Are there seating assignments? I sarcastically ask.
“I got us seats next to Scott Parker from the tennis club, and Mary is over there too.” I pull my inebriated body out of the chair and sulk behind him to where he has us marooned and I see Mary who instantly begins to tout her big promotion. I maintain the woman has been in more hotels than the Gideon Bible. I pretend to listen while finishing off my current seat’s complimentary glass of wine and give no indication that I care about her well-being in any way. I offer my half-hearted congratulations and remark at how climbing the corporate ladder usually pays off, not realizing I actually said riding the corporate ladder instead. She was not amused. I quickly change subjects but not intentions and I steer the conversation toward her favorite subject. Sex.
I realize this topic will jolt her mind out of any anger she may feel from my previous comment and I inform her that our sex life at home hasn’t been all it can be, and for quite some time. I mention how he has been working nights and how he is all alone during the day doing god knows what and even go so far as to vaguely imply that she maybe stop by and “check on him”. I giggle at my implication and we are interrupted by Scott who has been busy telling my husband some no doubt senseless anecdote that he surely has deemed pertinent. Talking to this man is like watching paint dry. I would rather sit through an insurance seminar. Thankfully I am saved from this exhausting back and forth by my meat sack of a companion. Woefully my rescue comes with a request from him asking me if I’d like to dance. At this point I can tell he is intoxicated as he would never extend such a romantic gesture if otherwise sober. Seeing as how I too am sloshed, and with my wishes of a fiery drunken crash unable to yet be fulfilled, I accept the offer with the stipulation we don’t talk during the ordeal. Our bloodshot eyes meet as we dance to the sweet sounds of Cole Porter and Count Basie and whimsical encounters of adulterous infidelities flood my head.
The night winds down as dinner ends and everybody has begun to say their goodbyes for the evening. When retrieving our coats from upstairs I make sure to knock all the others onto the floor creating a pile of over-priced outer garments and leave the room, locking the door from the inside as I exit. I hastily give my goodbyes and practically run to the car leaving him in the house to finish whatever conversation a drunk, near-retarded ex-athlete can muster. While waiting in the car I adjust the side and rearview mirrors hoping to disorient him further on the drive home, all merely me doing my part to aide in whatever vehicle accident that hopefully will take place on the ride home.
The entire ride back I lament my revengeful deeds and actions and immerse myself in smiles and self-congratulatory taps of my heels. This must have bled from my subconscious as I am rudely extracted from my thoughts by a vodka fueled question from a voice I desperately just want to forget. “You must’ve had a little fun tonight. Maybe when we get home we can have a party of our own? Just a few select guests, you, me, and my penis, wadduya say?” I shoot him a wry smile before throwing up in my mouth again. I think to myself he’s right, I did have a little fun tonight. So as we pull into our driveway arriving home I choose instead not to swallow and I spit it in my purse.