The Saturday before Christmas is the party night. I think it says something for the Moyas that so many people trusted them with the gaiety in their lives. Through JC and Laura, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of the coolest people I know.
The vast majority of them are coupled up, and know me as half of Andi and Aaron. Enter me, with Becky.
I’ve heard that couples can be defensive when confronted with dissolved marriages. If their marriage didn’t work, this paranoid mentality goes, then what chance does mine have? I didn’t experience this on Saturday. One couple didn’t mention Andi all night and never met Becky, but it could have been because we were caught up in other conversation; there was no dead point where one of them could have said, “So, where’s…” (of course no one would really need to ask, in the days of Facebook). They may have just been treading lightly around a potentially painful subject for me. Also, it’s a Christmas party. Still, I hadn’t seen many of them for some time, and those who did want to talk about it were all open and honest.
Alcohol helps smooth the rough edges of social awkwardness. It also lends itself to intimate conversations on short acquaintance. I’d only met the Moya’s neighbors a couple of times, but we found ourselves discussing relationships in general and the break up of my marriage in particular like we were a couple of couples who used to take vacations together or something. In the end, I assured them that while there was probably more grieving to do ahead, I was happy most days, most of the time.
“Anyway . . . Merry Christmas!” I said, breaking the emotional bubble which had built between us. They laughed almost until they cried. Timing is everything.
Moya ruined my holiday-schadenfraude / Come All Ye and Pity Me by telling people, “Don’t feel sorry for this guy. He’s happy with his new girl.” A fact I couldn’t deny, and which led to many a toast.
Ketel One, Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo, and wine, wine, wine. A couple of cigars may have made their way into my mouth along with the baked brie, cheese puff pastries, artichoke dip, shrimp cocktail, chicken salad and apricot dip (light years more delicious than it might sound), red velvet cake, chocolate squares, and homemade pizza.
Becky and I requested “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and got “Merry Christmas, Baby” instead. We danced anyway. Between Becky's magical presence, the swirl of cocktails in my system, and the lateness of the hour, I wondered why we ever left the Treehouse.
Acoustic guitars appeared. The crowd had thinned, but those of us who remained sang with gusto. I didn’t expect anyone to leave the circle of live music to say their goodbyes, but this being Miami, people still hugged and kissed us out the door. The spirit of the season, coupled with the spirits, made for some fierce, warm well-wishes.
I love this town.
On the way home, Becky drove us to a 24-hour Walgreens for cough medication and cigarettes. The odd coupling of items flashed me back to upstate New York, maybe fourteen or fifteen years ago, Andi and I checking out of a 24-hour Wegman’s with coffee and condoms. The guy in line behind us laughed hysterically. The lateness of the hour, the coffee, the condoms; I don’t know, it just hit him. For us, we just happened to be out of those two vital staples of cohabitation and didn’t feel like leaving the house the next day. For him, we were tired and horny and wanted to get caffeinated and stay up all night fucking.
“This is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen,” the guy said, wiping tears with the heel of his hand.
“Really?” I said, because I didn’t have the heart to say, “You should really get out more.”
When Becky slapped Wal-Tussin and Parliament Lights on the counter, no one at the Walgreens even blinked.
I hate this town. So jaded by all it’s seen.
At least Becky and I found the purchase deliciously ironic.