Saturday, January 3, 2009

Silver and White

Sorry about writing about you on the internet, Emily. I am that creepy person who writes about people on her blog.

Recently I was invited to Emily's annual Silver and White birthday party. Emily was my best friend throughout elementary school and she loved Sailor Moon and Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals. In, what, fourth or fifth grade?, she forced about 30 of our chums to put on a live, very sad, reenactment of Cats and then tortured me by keeping the VHS recording of the performance for years. She'll probably play it my wedding and I'll cry. If I never have to see myself in a white stretch body suit dancing awkwardly to The Magical Mr.Mistoffelees it will be too soon.

We dressed up as Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World one Halloween. I was Garth but had to stay glued to Emily's side, otherwise in my blonde mullet wig, ripped jeans and flannel shirt, people assumed I was going as a lumberjack or poorly dressed lesbian. Another Halloween she suggested we go as cross dressers, so we all wore gaudy dresses, stuffed our bras and drew on five o'clock shadows. I would go over to her house and gorge myself on Wonder bread, which my parents never bought because it could survive an atomic blast unharmed, and she would come over to my house and complain that our water tasted like garlic. Though we were both shy, Emily drew people to her in a way I didn't and had hysteric bursts of confidence. She was the pretty one, the cheerleader. In middle school I got tired of her boyfriends calling me to ask advice. We started to drift apart then and drifted even farther apart in high school when I stopped hanging out with the popular queen bees. Or maybe they slowly rejected me, I don't really know what happened.

But despite all that, I still felt close to Emily, like some sort of basic understanding remained between us. And I'd like to think that she felt the same way, as she continued to invite me to every birthday party she ever had. And I would go, the awkward sober one in a sea of drunken pretty people.

Last year I missed her birthday for the first time since fourth grade. Emily turned 21 this year and since this may be the last birthday party she has in Alaska, I had to go. I bought her vodka and carefully placed a handful of Haribo gummi bears, her favorite, in the bottle. I showed up early since parties full of people I don't know make me nervous. Though we're not close, it never seemed weird to see her again. But than people started pouring in by the drunken truckload and I had to load up on cheap wine to keep from panicking. I clung to Emily but that became sort of fruitless when there are 150 people in the room.

The highlights of the evening were:
1. Being hit on and called 'Sarah' by a baseball player who clearly didn't talk to me in high school
2. Having the following conversation with another high school acquaintance:
Me: So what do you do these days?
Him: I get drunk!
Me: Oh. Um...
Him: I get drunk like a lot! Like every day!

I won't even need to go to a high school reunion at this rate.

I did get to see a ton of people I genuinely like and haven't seen in a couple years, so that was nice. There's a big difference between avoiding the huge baseball player who is drooling on me and telling me how good I look now and finding my old scrabble partner at the party, who upon seeing me yells, "SOPHIE! YOU FUCKING SUCK AT SCRABBLE!" and I get to yell back, "ONLY BECAUSE YOU CHEATED! YOU AND YOUR 'HAZE' ON TRIPLE WORD SCORES EVERY GAME! IT'S UNNATURAL!"

Joe picked me up at midnight. I was Cinderella, if Cinderella had social anxiety instead of glass slippers.

I still love Emily though. One Saturday morning in eighth grade, I was sitting serenely on the couch, eating cereal and watching TV when my dad waltzed in and announced, "Your mother and I are separating. Also, we're moving." Then he walked away. I was too stunned, milk slowly migrating out of my mouth, to do much of anything, let alone yell what I was thinking which was, "THANKS DAD. NICE CHAT. HAPPY SATURDAY MORNING TO YOU TOO." Emily was the one I told first, in a restaurant bathroom on her birthday, no less. Emily introduced Joe and I and then was around every time we had a major relationship crisis: senior year in October when Joe drunkingly kissed another girl. Senior year in January when Joe dumped me in Taco King, just as I was lifting the first glorious forkful of gordita to my lips. God, senior year was AWESOME. Unfortunately, Emily seemed to pop up only when Joe was being a real asshole and wasn't around the rest of the time. Consequently, she seems a little suspicious of Joe now, a little protective. Which is kind of nice, really. You want somebody to be looking out for your best interests, who thinks they know what's best for you because they understand you at your core.

I still consider her a friend.

Emily, Josh (who I've known since 6th grade) and me, clutching my tumbler of wine with a vice-like gripe

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