Last night, E.S. and I went to the 50th birthday party of a friend of his, a delightful woman I’d met briefly the last time he and I were dating. Last night’s event took place at a Russian restaurant in Brighton Beach, which, for those of you unfamiliar with the geography of New York City, is about as far out in Brooklyn as you can go without hitting the Atlantic Ocean; this means it takes forever to get to.
What I was dreading, however, was neither the travel time nor having to leave Manhattan, but the presence at the party of E.S.’s ex-boyfriend E.W., who lives across the hall from E.S. and with whom E.S. is still good friends.
E.W. hates my guts.
I’d actually spent some time in E.W.’s company the last time E.S. and I were dating, and he was fun, friendly, and charming. However, when the whole debacle surrounding my reconnection with E.S. took place, his volatile, possessive, jealous, over-protective side came out; apparently, he raged and stormed and was prevented from issuing a fatwa only by E.S.’s continued insistence that if he could get over it, E.W. could too.
This would be the first time since E.S. and I started dating again that I’d see E.W., and, as I say, I was dreading it.
In the event, however, I wasn’t dreading it enough.
As unluck would have it, we ended up in the same subway car. After greeting me by the moniker Faust (rather than my real name), he spent the entire rest of the now-interminable subway ride neither speaking to me nor looking at me. Finally at one point he was talking about wanting to sit next to the birthday girl. He said, “If I have to supplant somebody, I will, though I’ve been specifically requested not to beat a specific person up.”
I said, “Oh, well, if you’ve been specifically requested, that’s almost an invitation.”
E.S. said, “He’s talking about you.”
“Oh,” I said miserably. “In that case.”
We finally reached Brighton Beach, got off, and headed towards the restaurant. Just outside the door, E.W. turned to me and said, “Faustus [my real name this time], I’m certain you’re aware that there are going to be several people here who wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.”
I wish I could say that I had a snappy comeback, but I was so horrified that all I could say was, “I’m sure there are.”
Then he said [I'm quoting almost verbatim], “I don’t know what you’ve told E.S. about your past behavior to him, which you detailed for whatever narcissistic reason on your blog, but if I ever find out that your future behavior to him bears any resemblance to your past behavior, the consequences will be dire.”
Then he wished me luck.
Appalled, I thanked him.
Thus assaulted, I went inside to the party, where I was so mortifyingly underdressed I might as well have been wearing nothing but a thong made of Saran Wrap. Furthermore, E.S. and E.W. were the only people I knew at the party, aside from the hostess, who was busy having a blast on her birthday. E.W. immediately sat down at the table with all the fags, which meant that E.S. and I had to sit at the table with all the straight people, who talked about things like where they’d gotten the brooches they were wearing.
The food was dreadful—pickled things and gray meat in grayer sauce, which is terrific if you like that sort of thing, but I don’t. Finally, they brought out a huge cake and sang happy birthday, but my hopes of being able to eat and run were dashed when they took the cake away and forced us to watch a dance show of young Russians in costumes that glowed under black lights; after a little of this, the black light dancers left stage and were replaced by two guys in sombreros dancing with canes. This went on and on.
Finally they brought the cake back; E.S. and I gobbled down what we could, and left.