“Her behavior was obviously retaliatory. That’s what terrible, sordid situations did to you, made you act crazily, against your own truths, against yourself.” – The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain
December 2008 – Let’s Get This Party Started
We had been living in our new community a little over a year. Within that time, my husband Evan had started partying like a rock star. He was out many weeknights at business or networking functions, which were no more than undercover rings of debauchery. At the time I was too wrapped up in my own whirlwind of full-time work and care of the wee ones to see clearly. But one night as I was giving my two girls a bath, the older one said, “Daddy doesn’t come home anymore. He doesn’t want to be with us.” It was like she had just splashed cold water at my face. I fought hard not to burst into tears at the truth of those words. We were all still mourning the loss of my in-laws, and now we were losing Evan too… It was time to join the party.
“What should I wear?”
“Something sexy. I want to show you off,” said Evan.
“To your networking group?! Isn’t this a business thing?”
“It’s just a party. Some of my group will be there, yeah, but Linda lives in our neighborhood, so she invited her friends too. You’ll get to meet some new moms.”
“Then I guess I should look like a mom.” I whipped out my conservative go-to black cocktail dress.
“Trust me, Linda and her friends are MILF’s,” Evan growled like a tiger. “Did I tell you Linda won the Ms. Middletown pageant five years ago?” Then he chuckled like a teddybear, his eyes twinkling in my direction. “But you my dear, are the MILFiest of all. Wear what you are comfortable wearing.”
At 7:30 pm we pulled up to a wide, well-lit circular driveway, gravel crunching under the tires to announce our arrival. A bowtied valet parker greeted us, extending his hand to help me out of the car. As I stepped down into the cold night I looked up at a magnificent mansion looming over me, which made my knees wobble. I gripped the valet’s hand to keep my balance. Taking me by the elbow with his other hand, the valet gracefully transferred me to Evan, who walked me as far as the front door before losing his gentlemanly countenance at the sight of our hostess… the lovely Linda. Maybe lusty is a better word. Or busty 😉
“HellOOOOOO Evan!” (Don’t you just hate those large, loud hellos???) “This must be your beautiful wife! Sarah, right! I’m so glad you both could come!”
She kept talking and talking.. and talking, but I couldn’t get past her sparkle. She was a blonde beauty pageant amazon, so I was basically blinded by large shimmering turquoise sequins accentuating every curve of her body. I couldn’t tell which was larger, her heaving boobs or her flashing smile. Suddenly, I felt so small, and no matter how hard I tried to shake it and have a good time, that feeling stayed with me all night long.
Linda made the introductions. “Evan, Sarah, this is my husband Willy. He’ll take you up to the hookah room later.” Her laugh was as large and lively as she was. Did she say hooker room?? Willy winked and was gone. Linda led us into the living room, where her scantily clad, well-groomed guests were draped over the furniture, some standing in little social circles, martini glasses cocked expertly in their manicured hands. I anxiously took in the scene, wondering how I fit into this “high society” picture. Was this a true sample of the moms in my new neighborhood?
Linda walked us over to a couple, who looked overly cozy on a settee. “Barry! Monica! I want you to meet Evan and Sarah. They’re new to the neighborhood. Gotta help me loosen them up and get them in the mood!” Loud laugh.
Barry lazily let his hand slide from Monica’s knee toward her inner thigh. “Oh, we like the sound of that,” Barry droned, eyes half closed and grazing over Evan, not once looking in my direction. Hmm…
“Welcome to the neighborhood,” Monica said flatly, without a smile on her lips or in her eyes, which appraised me in an instant and clearly registered me a zero on the social scale. “Where do your kids go to school?” she asked, disinterested. So the small talk began, and ended just as quickly. So I suggested to Evan we find the bar. At some point, after a glass of wine, I found myself talking to someone about nothing and realized Evan had disappeared. I wandered around by myself, seeking the elusive sushi I kept hearing about during the party but never actually saw with my own eyes. About 30 minutes must have passed as I tried to blend in and not bring attention to the fact that I was alone and not socializing. I sat by the piano and party-watched. Some guests were so drunk they were speaking unintelligible gibberish to each other, and found that hilariously funny and fascinating. Others were dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld but had that stupid drunk dance face on that said, “I’m so hot, I’m on fire… Tssss!” Barry and Monica had gone from petting to all-out fondling on the settee, with her hand in his crotch and his under her halter-top dress massaging her boob. (I found out later their spouses had been upstairs in the hookah room together).
When I felt like I might actually begin to cry, I decided it was time to go home. I began to hunt around the maze of rooms for Evan with no luck. When I came back around to the living room, there he was by the baby grand, singing “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” while somebody mangled the tune on the piano. I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of my Evan, the life of the party. And there I was, the wallflower. Maybe that was part of our problem. When he spotted me, he waved me over. Ever faithful, I trekked over and let him wrap me in his arm. “A bottle of red… a bottle of white…”
When we finally got in the car to go home, I burst into tears. Oddly, Evan didn’t say a word. The silence was deafening. When we got home, he said, “There’s something I need to tell you.”