The Emptiest Night of My Life
A Gatsby Evening
The cheese was thawing on the counter, and I rushed home to pan sear the rosemary garlic chicken that had been marinating in the fridge. Minutes before, with no car, I had just gotten home from hauling two large packages of grapes, two inconveniently shaped trays of strawberries, and a bunch of other ornaments to fancify the evening. It was already 5:30 - one and a half more hours before my guests were to arrive for my cheese and wine tasting party.
“Pan sear the chicken, rinse the grapes, mince the onions, wash the lettuce, cut the grapes, spread the crackers, slice the cheese...” I read and reread my list. What else can I possibly do as I wait for this chicken to sizzle? I had two hands and they clearly weren’t moving fast enough back and forth between the stove and the dining table. I was pumped with endorphins but exhausted with the pending tasks as the clock ticked closer to 7 o’clock .
He was going to be here. The man I had fancied for the longest time. I knew how much he loved wine and cheese, so this was my moment to show him a grand time. Like Gatsby who threw the most extravagant parties every night in hopes that his longtime beloved Daisy might show up to just one of them, I spread a pompous display of accent lettuce, an array of crackers, and robust British cheeses on white porcelain plates that perhaps I might win his heart that night. Every elevated plate, witty label, dish spacing, food placing had to be meticulously perfect. Yes, admittingly, this was all for him, and the other five people were simply there to fill up chairs. I really didn’t care who came just as Gatsby only had eyes for Daisy.
Some guests arrived early and helped me with the last finishing touches to my elaborate spread of luxury. It was absolutely beautiful with a vibrant world map tapestry to compliment the red, green, and yellow hues illuminating the table. The wines were set poshly in the backdrop, towering over the plump fruit. Fresh chicken salad awaited to be slathered onto buttery croissants paired with ripe fruit and lavish cheeses. I could hardly believe that I was able to pull it off in the nic of time as I watched my guests snap photo after photo of their spoils in exchange for their cheap bottles of wine. Whether they enjoyed it or not didn’t phase me as long as he was pleased.
I glanced in his direction and watched him raise his camera. “Looks wonderful,” he shot me a grin. That’s what I longed to hear. I suppressed the urge to gush and casually responded that I had always wanted to hold one of these gatherings and was glad it managed to go well.
People were ready to pounce so I no longer restrained them. They stacked their plates high, and I courteously waited in the background to make sure everyone had their share first. I made light chatter with a chipper gal who was keen to model our wines. She looked quite lovely and was glowing with laughter that night. Apparently, I was not the only one who noticed; it looked like my Daisy was enchanted by her as well.
After some laughter, many plates, emptied cups, and a few games into the night, people happily simmered into fatigue. I had been running around making sure everyone was entertained. To my dismay, it had seemed that my lad had taken a liking to our clever wine model as I lovingly transformed into the maid of my party and admired him from afar. But I was too tired to muster the energy to talk to him. Too tired to ponder jealousy.
It was 11 and the subway lines were closing soon. So with dirty plates stacked all over my table and counters and wine stained plastic glasses in the sink, my guests packed up to catch the last trains. I sluggishly hugged them goodbye and lingered at my apartment door hoping he might look over his shoulder before turning the corner. No - instead his eyes were locked on her as they sauntered to the end of the dimly lit hall.
The door softly thudded and the latch clicked into place. I sprawled myself on my couch that was infested with people just moments earlier. My apartment was silent. Dirty dishes and plastic cutleries scattered the kitchen. Food scraps laid next to my sink. Warm half-eaten, air-crusted cheeses sat on the table. I didn’t want to touch any of it.
I’ve never felt like this before. My stomach was so full but my heart was so empty. I couldn’t tell anyone. Who would understand? Perhaps a man who gazed longingly at the green light that twinkled from Daisy’s pier might know. If only he had known sooner that despite all he’d do, she’d always choose someone else as he waited by the phone - only to die alone.
We become fools when we believe a person or thing can carry the weight of our desires.
About the Creator
Confessions of an Undercover People Pleaser
Just an ordinary gal writing extraordinary stories about love, life, and lessons learned.
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