I went to a marvelous party
With NooNoo, and Nada, and Nell
It was in the fresh air, and we came as we were
And we stayed as we were, which was hell
'I've Been to a Marvelous Party' by Noel Coward
There was a moment at Greta's birthday party—before one of her ex-girlfriends threw a cocktail in her face, before the hair-pulling incident, before the squad car thundered down the driveway—when everyone was having a good time.
It was that perfect part of the afternoon when the sun blasts one final fiery shout before sinking into the west. You've just taken your first sip of your second mai tai and you look up to find yourself
surrounded by your friends' big, happy heads bobbing before you like a springtime version of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. You are filled with a sense of esprit de corps and you gulp down the urge to make broad declarations of love. (That will have to wait until after you've downed your third cocktail, the liquid diving line between heartfelt emotion and cheap sentiment.)
But then, just when it seemed like that perfect moment would stretch well into the evening, Greta opened her presents and all Hell broke loose.
As Greta prepared to tear into her gifts, Tricia danced around her like a mental patient, begging, 'Open mine first!' She thrust an envelope into Greta's hand and hugged
herself with delight as Greta read—and re-read—the card.
'I don't get it,' Greta said. 'It says that you're giving me the gift of closure. Did you mean the gift of clothes? Is there supposed to be a gift certificate in here?' she asked, searching the envelope for an errant Marshall Fields gift card.
'No, I meant closure,' Tricia said solemnly. And then she cried out, 'Come on out, girls!'
Greta's most recent ex-girlfriend suddenly appeared from behind a cottonwood tree and stomped into the middle of the yard. She was
followed by a dozen other women, all of whom who had once slept with Greta and who now shared
different variations of the same pissed-off expression.
The stormy cabal marched toward Greta, singing a song about Greta's many character flaws to the tune of 'Getting to Know You.' As the grim chorus line spit out the song, Tricia kept time by snapping her fingers.
Tricia's philosophy about ex-lovers differs greatly from mine. She believes that you should keep your exes in your life forever, dragging around these bitter, angry anchors, who like to remind you every time they get a couple of drinks in them that you were lousy in bed.
I, on the other hand, follow the praying mantis school of breakups: Bite off their heads immediately after mating. After all, your exes can't sing hateful and poorly
constructed lyrics (Greta's exes rhymed 'You are a moron' with 'My heart with acid poured on') if they don't have their heads.
At the end of the party, as we all piled into the paddy wagon, Tricia, who was shackled to my ankle, smiled and said, 'It really was a marvelous party.' I looked around the van at my friends who were all merrily humming the 'Getting to Hate You' song (it was rather catchy!). 'I've been to worse,' I said with a shrug, and then I wrapped by arm around Greta and joined in the singing.