This is the rework of a self-published auto-biographical story (2008), rewritten for this blog. Names of characters have been changed.
Content warning: mental and physical abuse, misogyny.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
The party (part 1)
26 February 1994
Continued from… Clubbing (part 2)
The day of the party was also Vivian’s wedding day. Back when Annie received the invitation, she and Joe were still together. Now they had broken up, she decided to attend the ceremony with her two children. It turned into an emotional afternoon, but Vivian’s deep appreciation for Annie’s presence, made it worth the pain she had to endure when seeing Joe. He at least had the decency not to bring his new girlfriend with him. For the duration of the small reception after wedding ceremony, Joe tried getting Annie’s attention, but she avoided him. The moment she could leave unnoticed, she did. She never spoke to Joe again.
* * * * *
The club party was set to start around six o’clock. After Annie and Tina had joined the club, a mutual friend of theirs, Terry, joined too. The car was filled with the nervous laughter and chatter of the three women. They had left early, because none of them knew where they really had to be, and they wanted to arrive early, because they wanted to watch the other guests as they arrived.
It had rained the previous evening and most of the gravel roads were muddy. Tina drove onto one of these roads, only to discover that it was the wrong one. The next turn she took was also wrong. After a while, the women realized that they were driving around in circles. Tina drove back to the main road, and from there they would yet again follow the directions that Rosie had given them.
“Maybe we should turn left over here,” Tina thought aloud.
“Watch out, it’s very muddy over there.”
Annie’s warning came moments too late. Tina’s car was stuck in the mud. The three women carefully stepped out of the car. Thankfully only the wheels on the right side were stuck.
“If we put some grass behind the wheels, Tina can ease the car backwards,” Annie suggested.
She didn’t know whether they would work, but she wasn’t in the mood to be stuck their all night. Just as the women started pulling grass from the side of the road, a man came along on his bicycle. He immediately helped them and in no time, the car was on solid ground again. Tina asked him for directions to the smallholding and they discovered they had turned off the main road way too early.
* * * * *
A couple of cars were already parked in front and at the side of the house when the three women arrived at the venue. They were even more nervous now than before, and in no hurry anymore to meet anyone. They took their time to get their stuff from the car, and only when none of them could find any reason to postpone it any longer, they walked around to the back of the house.
Chairs and some twoseater couches stood in a semi-circle on the large lawn. A woman sat in a man’s lap on one of the couches, sipping from her wine glass while she laughed and threw her hair back over her shoulder. On the other side of the lawn three men, each with a beer in his hand, stood watching Annie and her friends. Annie took notice of the people on the couch, the men watching them, and also of the house, with a big four-meter-wide terrace that ran the full length of the house and around the corner. Even though there was still some daylight, the lights inside the house were on and revealed more people gathered at a bar.
Rosie waved at them as she stepped out of the house, and when they joined her, she started to introduce them to the other people. It turned out the couple on the couch were married and looking for a man to go home with them. Annie hid her surprise well, and also her slight feeling of disgust. She pushed that feeling away, hating that her conservative upbringing still helped forming her opinions of people and prevented her from being open-minded. After all, only a couple of weeks before she considered starting a relationship with a woman.
When they moved onto the group of men, Annie met the man she was supposed to have her first date with, Dave. She was relieved that this man never entered her house. The moment she met him, she felt uncomfortable. He spoke in an exaggerated sweet voice and constantly touched her shoulder or her arm with his damp hands. Something in his demeanor sent shivers down her spine when he said that he was glad to finally meet her. Tina and Terry followed Rosie to the next group of people, but Dave kept his arm around Annie and held her back. It took a couple of minutes for her to make it clear to him that she wanted to join her friends. It was only later that evening that Annie learned that all the men she had met at the party were married.
* * * * *
About an hour into the party Tina called out to Rosie: “Rosie, you haven’t introduced us to the owners. Where are they?”
Rosie scanned the people around them and then started walking towards the house.
“Come along,” she said, and walked straight to a man hanging at the bar just inside the house.
To be continued… The party (part 2)
© Rebel’s Notes