Operation Mini-skirt: -44.6 lbs.
Mental State: Slightly unhinged
What an extraordinary weekend.
Did I say something about needing more drama in my life? Good Lord!
Each event was tiny, minuscule even. In retrospect though, it all made for a dizzying and emotional couple of days. Who knew that within the space of 72 hours, I could go from the external joy that comes from being surrounded by great music and hundreds of people determined to have a good time, to the shock of confronting past transgressions? Who could know that within 72 hours, I could be embraced so warmly into a house full of strangers? Who could know that I would have flattery and romance heaped upon me, filling me with an astounding mix of confusion and confidence? Who would ever have guessed that it would all be capped off by an act of unscrupulousness that boggles the mind and hurts the heart?
The evening was lovely, actually. A fabulous time. Sleyefox , Teacher and I went to see Searson, as planned. Fionn MacCool’s is a great Oirish pub. If you’re ever in Toronto, I highly recommend it. Nothing like a Real Irish Local, I would think, but great fun all the same. The epitome of trendy Oirish, with Canadian girls in kilts serving everything from thick-headed Guinness to cold, crisp martinis.
Searson was just as amazing as I remembered. The step dancing had to be seen to be believed. To paraphrase a tired but completely appropriate quote from Friends (bonus points for anyone who can name the speaker), “Their legs flailed around as if independent from the rest of their body!” Really, it was a blur of feet and lots of stomps, accompanied by music that made me wish I was a strawberry-blond lassie in Newfoundland, with a thick Shetland sweater, and ancestors who’d come over on the boat from the Old Country, during the potato famine.
On my way back from the ladies, I ran into Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe, you ask? Yes, Uncle Joe. Not my uncle of course, but Mandy’s, and when I’m speaking to him and have my wits about me, I try to remember to just call him Joe. People, I have had a crush on this man since I was 15 years old! He’s only 14 years older than Mandy and I, and sexy as sin. For a brief period a few months ago, I though I’d finally shed my childish torch, but no. No no no. Not even close. It’s still there. Despite the fact that he had the temerity two years ago to marry another woman (with my name, even!) and then actually have a child with her, I’m still completely and totally lusting after this man with every fibre of my being.
And on Friday night, he grabbed my ass. Oh, yes he did!
Joe was out with his buddies that night, a lot of whom I met in Vegas a couple of years ago. They’re all in electronics, and Mandy and I planned our four-day jaunt to coincide with the electronics convention that happens every year. “It’ll be great!” she said. “We’ll get to party with Joe and his boys. They’re all so much fun!” Hmm. Things got, perhaps, just a wee, tiny bit too fun on that particular holiday, what with the alcohol here and the debauchery there. Some awkward moments were the results when I faced them all again on Friday night, but we soldiered through, each of us having the grace to forget past misbehaviours. Lovely, that.
I tended to hop back and forth between our table (which we were by now sharing with two new boys named Mark and Allen) and Joe’s table. I hate to admit it, but I’m afraid that the apple of my eye got quite loaded. Which is perhaps why he complimented my breastal area so very openly. And grabbed my ass. For a while. With both hands. All I could think was, “Why God? Why now, when I’m finally old enough to have a raging affair with this man? Why now, when he’s conveniently and drunkenly pliable, when all I’d have to do is smile a little, perhaps sashay a little and he’d totally forget that I’m his niece’s best friend and he’s known me since I was 15… WHY DOES HE HAVE TO BE MARRIED AND WHY DO I HAVE ENOUGH SCRUPLES TO CARE? And so I left without flirting with Joe, the man who, when I see him at Mandy’s family gatherings, I have to stop myself from placing my hand on his thigh. Oh, you think I’m kidding, do you?
But I left with my morals intact; congratulating myself and feeling somewhat martyred.
That wouldn’t last long.
Mandy and I went to DQ’s best friends’ going away party. Brad and Jeanine are honestly the most genuine and wonderful people I’ve ever met, and they left for Calgary today. DQ and Brad are both a little devastated by this, as they’ve been best friends – brothers, more like – since they were embryos. In fact, there were many times throughout the evening and into the following morning when tears sprung from both of them. This was a friendship that wouldn’t be hurt by distance, but the pain of the parting was still just as sharp. Major opportunity had arisen for them though, and you just can’t turn that down because of geography.
We haven’t known each other more than 6 months, but Brad invited me because he said I’d made him feel really welcome and at home the first time we met, which touched me to no end. He and Jeanine and DQ are all from Newfoundland, a part of Canada that’s notorious for it’s friendliness and lack of pretension. Consequently, the party was a hell of a good time. I was embraced and enveloped by all their family and friends. And then put to work in the kitchen to make roast potatoes! Sometime between washing and cutting and boiling and then putting them in the oven to roast, Jeanine’s stepbrother Jamie started… well… flirting? Yeah, flirting with me. I mean, I wasn’t sure at first because the whole concept is kind of foreign, you know? I’m usually the one that does the flirting. But… yeah. I knew I was getting some kind of vibe. Yeah, that’s what it was. And it was lovely, having someone pay that kind of attention to me. But then… then he started drinking.
A conversation I had with Brad while dancing to an old Newfoundland ballad at about 3 in morning explains it all. “Mare, I’ve known Jamie for about 7 years now. When he’s sober, he’s a sweetheart. But when he’s drunk, he’s an asshole. Sober, sweetheart. Drunk, asshole.”
Charming. And true. I think he’s got some esteem issues, frankly. I let it be known that I’m not averse to going out with him sometime. Dinner maybe. Or a movie. He asked, and I answered. But he continued to come on far too strong, even prompting his sister and his step-sister to take his drunken self aside to tell him to tone it down and leave me be.
I’ll tell you something though. He told me I was gorgeous. (Now, I know that isn’t true, but it was lovely to hear. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not beastly, although there are days I feel that way. And on other days, I manage to put myself together to give an illusion of dramatic hotness and wonder! I know this is possible, because I tell you all about it when it happens! At best though, I know I’m interesting to look at. But I’m not gorgeous. And it’s taken me 28 years to deal with it, but you know, looking interesting is actually pretty fun.) Anyway, at one point, his sister told me that 10 minutes after walking in the room and seeing me for the first time, Jamie poked her in the side and motioned to me, saying with awe in his voice, “Look at her!” Later on, after we had talked for a while, but before he got really inebriated, he said, “You make me feel funny inside.” God, people, how am I supposed to react to something like that except to feel completely flattered and warm and wonderful?
But he got so very drunk. And pushy. Far too pushy. It became tiresome, and embarrassing, and I didn’t want to deal with it anymore. He has my number though. If he actually gets up the guts to call me when he’s sober, I’ll give it a go. Because, and this may be my failing, but at the beginning of the night, he really was a sweetheart. And I make him feel funny inside. That doesn’t happen very often, you know.
That was the good part of the night. That was the part where I behaved with as much class as I was able. Then… then it all went downhill.
Jamie left early. He just up and disappeared. Later, they told me it was because he knew he was acting the ass, so he called a cab before he could do anymore damage.
I think it was about four in the morning when I started talking to Sean, the cute boy who kind of looks like Buffy’s Angel and lived in the basement apartment. With his girlfriend. Of five years. Who had gone downstairs to bed two hours earlier.
I don’t know how it started, but we eventually got into a conversation about who we’d have at a dinner party, if we could have anyone we wanted, dead or alive. (Thanks, Moviegrrl) Bam bam bam! He started naming names that I would name, and I started naming names that he would name, and it just flew from there. We loved the same movies, the same musical artists. He put on some random compilation of Rat Pack standards, and we… just… clicked. Dino hit a low note and I said, “God, that voice is like honey and smoke and the best scotch in the world all mixed together.” Sean looked at me and said, “I should not be having this conversation with you. You’re killing me here.”
The mix of offering my cigarettes and having him light mine, the small hours of the morning, the amount of alcohol consumed… it all leaded up to my attaining a certain level of comfort with him that I’ve not had with anyone for a while. Five in the morning, and Mandy and Brad and DQ and Sean and I were standing around in the kitchen, talking and laughing and generally having a raucous good time. His girlfriend was lying downstairs, asleep in her bed, and I was resting quite comfortably against him, with his arms wrapped around me in a manner that was decidedly not… appropriate. Through her haze of alcohol, Mandy took in the situation and shot me a look, eyebrow raised. She asked him, point blank, “What’s with the touching? You’re touching my friend and your girlfriend is in the house.” We laughed it off and drifted away from each other. But then we drifted back.
I know it was wrong. I know it was horrible of me to get anywhere close to this guy knowing that he has a girlfriend. But we ended up staying up until about 8:30, talking, getting to know each other. When sleep started descending, I sent him downstairs, though he didn’t want to go, and truthfully, I didn’t want him to. But sleep I needed as much as distance. It would not do at all to fall for someone else’s boyfriend. Someone else’s boyfriend who admitted quietly that he likes Barbra Streisand. BARBRA STREISAND, people! He’s not gay and he likes Barbra and he’s not square or old. And I’m supposed to say no to this? I’m just supposed to let a trifling thing like a girlfriend get in the way?
I was asleep within minutes, and an hour and a half later, Mandy was shaking me awake. Her hangover was of such proportions that she needed to go home immediately. There would be no puking in someone else’s toilet.
I was asleep on my couch by 11:30.
The phone jolted me awake, and it was Mandy, disturbing me from sleep the second time that day.
“Mandy, why do you keep doing this to me?”
”Mare, I need you to get up. We need to be at Brad and Jeanine’s right now.”
“No time to talk. Some money was stolen. They’re asking everybody to come back, giving whoever took it the opportunity to give it back.”
Fifteen minutes later, DQ was at my door and I was towel-drying my hair. In the car, I heard the story while trying not to poke myself in the eye with my mascara brush. “So, let me understand. Am I being hauled in for questioning?”
He explained that they had sold a lot of furniture to raise some cash for the three day drive they were about to take. It had been in Jeanine’s wallet, in her purse, in their bedroom. And this morning, it was gone. Everybody at the party last night would be given an envelope and one by one would drop it in a bag that was sitting in the bathroom. It was hoped that the thief would put the few hundred dollars back, and nobody would be the wiser that he or she took it. The thing that breaks my heart is that I know I didn’t take it, and I know that DQ and Mandy didn’t take it. Which only leaves Sean and his girlfriend, or any member of her family. Either possibility is equally disgusting. Everybody knows that these two are strapped for cash. It takes money to start a whole new life in a whole new province. To do this… to them… after they opened their home to those that they trust and enjoy… just when they needed it most. I can’t even conceptualise the kind of person who would do such a thing.
In the end, as I knew he would, DQ gave them pretty much whatever was left of that week’s paycheque to try to replace the money that was never given back. Mandy also added to the contribution, as did I. Jeanine didn’t want to take it, but after much pushing, did so and hugged us all tightly, promising fervently to pay back every cent.
It matters not even in the slightest whether she does or she doesn’t. All I know is that they welcomed me to them as if I was family. A couple of bucks here and there? Eh. Not even worth thinking about.
And there it is. Nothing overly spectacular, but dizzying enough anyway.
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