Party Crasher


May 25, 1987

(from a letter)

            I was wrong.

            It wasn’t quite over.

            Four days after telling Peggy off, I was aching with heart ache.

            She’d arranged for a big birthday party to celebrate her 28th birthday, with 50 or more relatives scheduled to come. I had looked forward to if since I’d heard about it months ago, and I had to tell her off four days before it was to happen.

            I’d even brought her a gift.

            Of course, I’d told myself that I wouldn’t miss her or it, but I was wrong on both accounts.

            By the day of the party, I had talked myself into banking a few extra muffins and donuts, hoping in the back of my head she would see them on her father’s porch and invite me anyway.

            I delivered them at 3 a.m. to her father’s place at 3 a.m. then rushed home to get some sleep, but was too anxious with anticipation.

            I also scolded myself for being a fool. Why did I want to get tangled up with her again now that I was finally free?

            By 2 p.m. that afternoon, I’d still received no call.

            Part of the reason I wanted to get invited was to give her the presents I’d bought, knowing that if I left them on her doorstep, she would just sneak back and dump them on my step later.

            I regretted ending things on a sour note. I wanted her to know I still cared for her, even if I could no longer be her lover.

            With no phone call or invitation, I had only one option. So I went to her father’s house, determined to give Peggy the presents, and then I would go into the woods somewhere and writer all of this out of my system.

            I didn’t even care if she was with another man.

            If she was, I was going to look that guy straight in the eye and tell him how damned lucky he was to be around her, and I would mean it, too.

            But when I got to her father’s house, there was no party.

            I even surprised myself with what I did next. I walked straight up to the house and knocked bolding on the door, and when her father answered – he’s a big, cynical-looking man who had divorce Peggy’s mother years earlier and was now living with a woman named Jan – I said, “God, I must have mistaken Peggy. She said the party was over here.”

            He snarled at me and gave me a curious look.

            “No,” he said. “It’s not here. But Jan and I are headed over to the party now, and if you wait a minute you can follow us.”

            He had a gleam in his eye. And just in case I lost them, he sat down and wrote our directors to the place.

            “you got that, boy?” he asked. “Let me repeat it, okay?”

            By rights, I should have just given him my presents and been on my way. But I got caught up in the conspiracy, something ached in my chest. My head surged with the delight of it as I drove towards the party and pulled up in front of the house.

            Then, I walked right into the back yard, 50 of Peggy’s relatives looking me up and down as I carried my donuts and the presents.

            “Here,” I said, thrusting them both at Peggy. “I brought them for you.”

            Her expression was worth the trip full of shock and disbelief.

            “What are you doing here?” she asked.

            “I didn’t want to miss your party,” I said, then strolled over to one of the tables to fix myself a drink. Two drinks. Then five. One after another, my hands shaking the whole time.

            Her mother was stunned and came up to me and asked if I was crazy.

            “Probably,” I said, swallowing the vodka in large gulps. “I haven’t crashed a party since I was a kid.”

            Her mother’s boyfriend, Charlie – still sober – came up to me next, grinning, telling me that he would have been disappointed had I not shown up. He even patted me on the back.

            Over the next few hours, the same thing happened with every male at that party, hard-nosed football jocks looking over their drinks at this intruder, coming over to say it was nice to meet me.

            Peggy’s mother spread the news, telling everyone that I didn’t belong there.

            Meanwhile, I went and sat with Peggy’s best friend, Marsha. She was pregnant, one more reason why she no longer ran wild with Peggy.

            Men, drugs and rock& roll, and a lot of cruel things done to a lot of love-sick men like me.

            Her eyes shimmered. Marsha had heard tales of me. But she didn’t know what to make of me, a party crasher.

            Before our break up, Peggy had mentioned Marsh’s wedding and how she’d been tempted to tell him that he’d gotten lucky.

            “Maybe she’s the one that got lucky this time,” I’d told Peggy, startling her a little.

            Until then, I never really knew what “cool” meant. I had these people in the palm of my hand. Even Peggy kept looking over, stunned.

            I suppose had she screamed, “Get out,” when I first showed up, some of her friends would have escorted me out.

            That’s when I noticed she still had my guitar pick on a chain hanging around her neck.

            By the end of the evening, even the wives of the guest started to come over to talk to me, their eyes wide as if I was an outlaw or something. They were curious and when they left they actually liked me just as the men had. All their lives they had been taught to accept the word “No,” and here was someone who wouldn’t.

            At that moment, I could have had any of the single women there, and the only one I wanted was Peggy, and in truth, I knew I couldn’t take her any more.

            I had come to see Peggy on her birthday, not to make up or even say I was sorry, or to beg her forgiveness, and to let her know that for the rest of my life I would love and treasure her, even if we couldn’t make things work as lovers.




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