The other day, I found this picture of my friend Lisa and me. It’s from 1996, and we were at Denny’s before going to our friend Evan’s art show. I’m not sure why Lisa looks so tired. Maybe she was just feeling psychologically worn knowing that she had like, 5 more hours to spend with me that day. (I was kind of hyper & annoying back then. I’m totally not like that anymore.)
Lisa was just in town over the weekend, and with her she brought her shiny brand new fiance, Matt. Because Lisa currently lives in Colorado and no one here in Pittsburgh had met Matt, there was a meet and greet at her grandma’s house Saturday afternoon. I wanted to make a good impression on Matt, so I sent Henry to Vanilla Pastry Studio that morning to pick up a quad of Congratulations, You (and everyone else) Got Engaged Before Me cupcakes.
We arrived to find Lisa in the kitchen, where a nice buffet of party food called to me like the fucking Green siren of weight gain. I kept eyeballing it around Lisa’s shoulder, and oh shit was that mango salsa? (It was.)
Lisa introduced me to her future husband by saying, “This is Erin, we’ve been friends ever since I threatened to beat her up in eighth grade.” (True story. It happened at the Halloween dance, because I was being a punk bitch.) And then I presented Lisa with the cupcakes. I was going to say something to the effect of likenening them to God’s wedding cake, because she’s a radical Christian; however, her dad was looming too close for comfort and I’ve always felt he didn’t approve of me (probably because my entire aura flashes HEATHEN in neon) so instead I was like, “Yo, here are the best cupcakes ever.”
And as she lifted the top, I stood there smugly, chest puffed out a little, waiting for her to enthuse about how beautiful they looked, almost too beautiful to eat, and if she could, she would choose one to wear atop her wedding veil.
But instead, she let out her signature goblet-shattering guffaw. (She seriously has the loudest, most startling laugh of anyone I have ever met and I pray someday it’s recorded and used in a cartoon.) And (after recoiling from the sonic blast) I’m all, “What the fuck is so funny about cup—-…..Oh.” Apparently, they had decided to have group sex in one of the corners of the box, presumably to an updated version of an old Spice Girls song, “4 Become 1.” (That was for you, Alisha.)
And of course, the revelers had paused their conversations long enough to witness this catastrophe. (It was a catastrophe to me, OK?) I heard someone murmur, “Aw, oh no.”
Not really knowing what else to say, and feeling the burn of strange eyeball beams upon my person, I let out a monotone, “Oh, oopsies” which apparently sounded entirely more sarcastic than I intended, because Lisa laughed even harder and said, “Oh, nice reaction!”
Apparently, she thought I had known about it, possibly even done it intentionally. Then she made me say “Oh, oopsies” again and stand there awkwardly displaying the box of car-crashed cupcakes while she took a picture and EVERYONE WATCHED.
I know, I have been writing on the Internet since 2001, but I do NOT LIKE BEING FOCUSED ON IN REAL LIFE. I’m a walking study in contradiction.
Eventually, everyone ripped their eyes off my mangled mess and went back to conversing. I think half of the guest list was engaged. Lots of ring-flashing was going on, which made me glare at Henry with such intensity, I hope he could feel the bamboo sticks with which I was mentally q-tipping his dickhole.
“What?” he said defensively. “I’ll propose! When I find the right girl.” A typical Oh, Henry moment.
Later that night, Lisa called me to thank me for coming. Then she goes, “So Matt and I were reviewing the best moments of the day, and you and the cupcakes win hands down.” More raucous laughter. “What was it that you said again?”
Jesus Christ, Lisa.
To Henry, I was saying, “Why would she think I did that intentionally??” and he goes, “Uh, because she knows you very well and that’s totally something you would do.”
“Well, yeah. But not with her family there!”
Somehow, I’m sure I’ve made worse entrances, at least.