Saturday night I had two amazing seats to the baseball game. I get them once a year at the beginning of the season, thinking positively that by mid-season I'll have someone to take with me.
Last year I took Government Mule.
This year I took Schmoozer.
I guess next year will be Swayze, but he doesn't even like "not football" as he calls it.
After the game Schmoozer and I headed to a house party. It was the first time I had seen Harvey and company since some random happy hour last month. At that happy hour Katie had gotten extremely drunk, as is the case has been the last 9 months or so.
"Now where is... that thing with the writing on it?" she slurred as her head bobbed across the table.
"You mean the menu?" Harvey passed it over to her.
I used to think Katie getting really drunk was cute, but it just didn't seem that way anymore. We had only been there an hour and a half. It was still daylight out. It wasn't cute anymore; instead it reeked of a cry for attention.
Schmoozer and I had gotten into a slap fight, slapping each other's sun burns from river rafting the previous week. Then I giggled as I received texts from his best friend. It was obvious that my life had moved on without the rest of my group of friends. It was obvious to them as well.
Schmoozer stood up to leave, meeting up with the best friend.
"That's my ex," Katie slurred as he walked his way through the parking lot.
Funny, I don't associate him as Katie's ex: he's my friend.
After the baseball game, Schmoozer and I walked into the house party. We found everyone—predictably—by the beer pong table. Harvey was seated with a glass of wine, her husband in front of the laptop, alternating Journey, Poison and George Strait. Swayze and the host were playing beer pong and Katie was on the other side of the table watching. Everyone greeted me warmly. Katie kind of nodded at a distance.
Our friendship has become strained. Normally she'd shout my name from across the room and tell me she loves me and misses me. Instead I got a nod and a high five at my initiation. Last week she organized a night out. Schmoozer asked if I was going; I told him I wasn't invited. When I confronted her about it, she said that I just must not have received the text. It's 2011, how often does a text just not arrive?
I took a seat next to Harvey and we talked about how weird this summer had been. I admitted that I'm nervous about our trip to Mexico at the end of the month. I'm rooming with Katie and Jenna, two people that I have not spoken much to for most of the year. Swayze will have an empty bed in his room now that Government Mule has backed out; I'm thinking of staying with him instead.
"Soooooo..." Harvey started hushedly. I knew what she was going to say before she even said it. "Are you and Schmoozer dating?"
"No." I opened my mouth to provide further explanation, but I realized I didn't owe anyone one. I closed it again.
"I think he thinks you're dating," she whispered.
I paused, trying to decipher whether that "he" was a "we." That's what the true sentence was. Harvey and Katie and Government Mule and Jenna think we're dating. It was the first time I realized Harvey was saying something completely untrue just to say it.
Schmoozer is not confused as to whether we're dating or not. He knows all about my life and I know about his. Schmoozer had passed out my number to one of the guys in the backyard on guys' night without my permission. We go to bars where Schmoozer thinks he has the best chance with girls.
Harvey was wrong. Katie was wrong. I could have explained the situation in more detail, saying that I see him two or three times a week and that's why we seem chummy. Because we are. We have the bond that is now broken between us and the rest of the group. But really, it's none of their business anymore. If Katie wanted to distance herself from me based on her perception, that's her decision. I have stated over and over to her that nothing is going on between us. I'm tired of being on the defensive as if I'm doing something wrong. I am not.
Rhett Butler: You're going to that party, if only for her sake. Now get dressed! Wear that! Nothing modest or matronly will do for this occasion. And put on plenty of rouge. I want you to look your part tonight.
And Saturday night I did.