At the party I am the first to arrive. I am leaving early, so I might as well be on time exactly, although I am not strong enough to open the door at first when I buzz. A second time I throw myself in.
In her apartment we are celebrating his birthday and we are recognizing the fact that together they have been a they for ten years. Some of us here don't know this fact. Others like myself remember when it started, all ten years ago. Whispers and rumors and graphite pencils. The apartment is decorated with furniture, gold velvet folding chairs and a plush velvet loveseat, bookshelves filled with titles I've been meaning to read, framed art all over the walls, cookies and knishes freshly baked and set upon the tabletops. The bar is embedded in the books.
Tonight for his birthday we talk about the past six months of our lives. We do the catch-up we all too seldom get to do, or rather, that we make room for doing in our busy lives.
I know him and her and only two other people who arrive. I meet someone very tall who has just come back from two years in Cambodia; with him is someone not as tall but wearing an Angkor Beer shirt. I ask a lot of questions about Cambodia, having wanted to visit the Angkor Wat temple since Wong Kar-wai showed me how beautifully it receives a whisper. The man from Cambodia is happy to talk and ask questions of me in return. He asks me about my own time away from here, this city we have both now returned to after having each paid our own due diligence to ourselves. I am flattered that we find a common ground comparing the Catskills to Cambodia, but I am not sure how invested I should become in our conversation when I realize I cannot remember his name. Or his friend's name, in the Angkor Beer shirt.
I only know our hostess and her boyfriend here. Everyone else asks me if I am from their past, their hometown, and I say yes to be convenient. It is true, but a vague phrasing of true.
I am leaving early to go to a show. I am expecting to see another friend there, do another catch-up. I confirm before leaving the party but find out the confirmation is in error, that our plan has been revised. There will be no meeting at the show, but I am advised to have a good time regardless. I imagine I may know the same amount of people at the show as I do at this party.
I am not sure whether the weight of expectation is heavy enough to sag down on your brow or if it is actually so light you cannot detect it upon you. It is better to want not, desire not, plan not: to avoid disappointment by avoiding plot points and predictions. Don't kid yourself about your clairvoyance, you're no kid anymore and this is not a movie in the mood for love. This is you at the party, making conversation with men whose names you can't remember and won't ask for again. In the cinema of your mind there is never an end to any scene, but you always get your lines right because you're never given a second chance.