It's 5:20 and I'm in a foul mood. I have been invited to a party tonight and I don't like parties. I find it difficult to feel celebratory at a specified time.
It doesn't help that I married Mr. Socialman who makes eye contact with every person, dog and butterfy we encounter on a walk. He comes from a family of social enthusiasts and though they are good hardworking people they find it necessary to recognize the baptism and first communion of every great niece and nephew. I imagine them to have freezers full of cheesy hashbrown casseroles and jello whipped cream desserts just waiting for the call. I have chosen the wedded state and tonight I must succumb to another's schedule.
In my younger years I often stayed longer than I should at the party trying to please other people. And then one night I pushed the empty beer glass aside and waited for a lull in the conversation. "Going home, " I announced to the table.
" WHAT!" an annoying person with overly teased 80's hair shrieked. "Everybody's gonna think you're a party pooper!" her voice got louder as she scanned the circle of faces looking for approval. I stood up, got my cigarettes and said,"I don't care." That night a new phoenix rose from the ashes, a bird of dazzling plumage, an independently thinking woman. It had been so easy. I should have done this years ago.
Cowboy David once announced to a group , "Dawn had a similar experience. Dawn, why don't you tell us about that?" I felt my head swiviling towards him slowly as if in a dream sequence. My eyes stared without blinking into his deepest parts. I could tell by his face that his soul was feeling a cold wind blowing across it, and he never said that again. I don't need to be talking. Listening requires all the energy I can muster in social settings. I love my Dave, but he needs to understand this strange and separate person that has agreed to stay with him.
I have no ability to maintain a contemporary wardrobe unlike my fashionable daughter and her cousins. I have spent too many years in Catholic schools. My mother tried to jazz up my closet with wild magentas and tangerine oranges but I always settled into my cozy earth colors, trying to blend in with the background. But when I pull on my boots, my lovely boots, I have a sense of confidence in group situations. I love my boots. They make me feel scrappy, a desperado, a mysterious person. They are softly scuffed and when I wear them I feel tall and lanky even though I am just a whisper above five foot. I swagger about like I jumped off a saddle.
There were pulled pork sandwices. I myself never pull pork. There was a casserole that David said was potatoes but I knew to be crab and too many dishes had olives, but there were three kinds of cake, glorious cakes with raspberries and dark chocolate and white sparkley whipped puffs. I was stealing my second and third pieces to take home unaware that my theft was being recorded in several group photos.