Thursday, August 12, 2004

Surprise Party Day!

Your boyfriend of two months organized a surprise party for you. That's why the living room is covered in streamers. And that's why it doesn't look like he has anything planned for your birthday beyond the two of you sitting in a living room covered in streamers. There is a lot to eat in the refrigerator. A great variety of snacks and dips in large serving bowls that your boyfriend hastily hid away when he realized no one was going to come. You should sit him down and explain.

"Like the streamers?" he asks. "Hey, let's buy a movie off of digital cable. Whatever you want."

"Listen," you say. "I know what you tried to do and I really appreciate it. But there are a few things you should know about me."

"Mm hmm?"

You breathe deep and hope for the best. That's all you can do right? You never know, he might still wanna stick around.

"So here's how it is," you say. "I used to be friends with this girl Gina. Best friends actually. Since ninth grade we were inseparable."

"I heard her name come up some of the times we’ve been out but I don't think I've met her," he says.

"No," you say. "You wouldn't have. See, Gina was married to this guy Karl. And me and Karl, we kind of had an affair while Gina was pregnant with their first baby. The affair went on for a few months, but Gina got wise and started following Karl. She finally caught us together when she followed him here, to my apartment, where we were celebrating my birthday."

"Oh," he says. He's starting to stare at very little.

"So, yeah. When Gina saw us through that window there, she climbed up onto the fire escape, all eight months pregnant of her, and then she screamed Karl's name and jumped from the fire escape so that she impaled her belly on the wrought-iron fence, killing herself and their baby."

Big long silence from the boyfriend. Then:

"So that's why no one came to the party."

"Because it's the anniversary of my friend's suicide slash infanticide," you say. "Yup."

"Which you caused?" he asks. He's looking you in the eye. That's a good sign.

"Karl had a hand in it too, but yeah. Most people lay the blame on me," you say. Don't take his hand even though he seems to be laying it out there on the couch for you to take. "No one's heard from Karl since the big day, by the way."

He reaches across the couch towards you. You stiffen, afraid he's going to slap you. But he takes you by the shoulder and says, "My God your birthday's ruined forever by a sad memory you poor little thing." And holy shit if he doesn't fucking pull you into a deep soft hug.

"Oh. Oh, baby," you say.

"Well we're just going to smother that sad memory with a big pile of happy ones. Starting with some mini-golf. Get your pants."

You take a second to watch him standing there by the couch waiting for you to get your pants so he can take you to mini-golf for your birthday. Whatever happy memories there are to come, it will be hard to top this one.

Happy Surprise Party Day!