It all began innocently enough. In an unexpected gesture of solidarity, some buddies of mine offered to treat me to a night of epic debauchery: enough whiskey to court self-destruction and the tender ministrations of a rather fast young woman they’d brought along who took such a fancy to me that I almost doubted the magnetic effects of my looks and personality as the sole motivational force. It was quite an evening, I’m told, and one I ought to remember; still, at daybreak, I was ready to call it a night. It was at this point, however, that things began to take a strange turn.
As it happened, my girlfriend of many years had not been invited to the festivities just then concluding. To make up for that oversight, my buddies had arranged to throw a surprise party for her — that very morning, oddly enough. Odder still, it was to be a formal affair. Yes, it was short notice, but not to worry: all the arrangements had been made. Thus it was that I arrived, glad-ragged and reeling, hemmed in by six other tipsy toffs, at the site of my femme’s secret fete.
“Zissa place?” I asked.
Yes, they nodded.
“Look slyka church.”
They nodded again.
“She’ll never specta thing.”
More nods. And devilish grins.
I hadn’t realized that houses of worship could be hired out for parties, but the place was packed. The conspirators had done a marvelous job of passing the word around: everyone who knew us was there, including several out-of-town relatives and even the priest from her old parish. If only they had been rehearsed properly; then, when the big moment came, they might not have missed their cue. Alas, when my girlfriend did appear, I was the only one who remembered to shout: “Surprise!”
To be fair, the assembly was undoubtedly taken aback, as I was, by her extraordinary attire. Even for a formal affair, it seemed a bit much. Which is not to deny the loveliness of the garment, this long-sleeved, lace-bodiced, flaring-skirted, snow-white satin gown that showed off her fabulous figure to full advantage while at the same time covering her with an inexplicable aura of innocence. The getup perplexed me. I knew for a fact that she’d made her First Communion years ago. Surely she wasn’t resurrecting that outfit. It must have been a recent purchase, for this was the first time I’d seen her in it. Unfortunately, in her eagerness to show it off, she evidently had neglected to hem it properly, leaving the excess fabric trailing far behind. Thank goodness she was the last to arrive or no telling how many people would have trampled her. And the veil! Well, it was certainly pretty, but who wears veils anymore?
We’d definitely caught her off guard, I’m certain of that — even without the customary exclamation. I could tell from the look in her eyes as she came toward me down the aisle that she hadn’t expected to find me there. The rest is pretty much a jumble, though I do vaguely remember the priest offering me something. Would I take this, that, or the other thing? “Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever!” Anything offered to me free of charge I generally accept.
What a great party! Plenty of those little finger sandwiches I love so much. And, every time I turned around, somebody was thrusting another double Scotch into my hand. Did I protest? No, indeed! Some idiot wanted to take group pictures — that was a pain. Then we all had cake.
I woke up the next morning in some hotel room with a splitting headache. My girlfriend was there, too, in an unfamiliar, giddily triumphant mood. What had got into her! We were on some sort of vacation, apparently. She’d made all the arrangements. Nice place, too. Who’s paying for all this stuff? I wondered. And why is everyone speaking a foreign language? Still, it was fun, lots of fun. Everybody was especially nice to us. We had a great time.
I was anxious to get home, though, and back into my old routine. We hailed a taxi at the airport and, when we reached my place, I invited her in, for a nightcap. She must have twisted her ankle getting out of the cab, for she insisted that I carry her in. I certainly didn’t object to her staying over that night, what with the bad ankle and all, but weeks went by and she was still there. She seemed to have no intention of leaving. Worse still, she developed an annoying habit of rearranging the furniture, most of which she’d imported from her own apartment. In response to my inquiry, she replied, “But that’s what married women do.”
Imagine my shock. I’d had no idea she’d gotten married. She’d been hanging around my place for two weeks or more now, and any minute her enraged husband was liable to come bursting through my front door, shotgun blazing! That was 25 years and six children ago, and she still hasn’t gone home. I just hope her husband doesn’t mind.