Cast of Characters
Penny – Narrator
Super-Extrovert – Penny’s friend who cannot understand that Penny doesn’t like to be around other people all the time and forces her into social situations.
Civilian – That guy who was really good at dates last year and whom Penny met at another such dinner.
Girlfriend – Super-Extrovert’s friend from college who is dating Civilian’s best friend and roommate.
Disapproving Mother – Civilian’s roommate’s mother and Girlfriend’s supposed future MIL.
In which Penny finds herself the object of gossip…
I glanced down the table and immediately wished I hadn’t.
Now, I probably spend more time convinced that people are talking about me than people actually spend engaged in discussions of my utterly fascinating person, but Monday evening my observations of the pair at the opposite end of the table could not have been more affirming of my regular self-absorption.
Still, I’d looked and I couldn’t very well un-look, so I might as well keep looking at the girlfriend of the best friend of the guy I’d gone on a few dates with over a year ago as she whispered in her boyfriend’s mother’s ear all the sordid details of my callous and cold treatment of their beloved young man, currently deployed as a civilian in Afghanistan.
You see, I was sitting next to Super-Extrovert, the male friend who’d introduced me to the group in the first place, and Disapproving Mother was inquiring of Girlfriend as to the nature of our relationship. A perfectly innocent inquiry.
Until Girlfriend said, “Oh, no. Nooo. That’s quite the story. You see…” and launched into what could only be a recounting of mine and Civilian’s failed start. (A biased one if the shocked stares that turned into daggers from the eyes of Disapproving Mother were any indication.)
Yes, without doubt, I was the subject of their conversation.
I wish I could say that I smiled sweetly in their direction, but I have a nasty habit of drawing inward and letting a mask of disdain slip over my features when faced with any situation that makes me feel the least bit threatened. In other words, I only managed to confirm Disapproving Mother’s worst suspicions as to the contents of my character.
Usually I don’t let it bother me that certain members of my acquaintance consider me snobbish, insensitive and uncaring. My friends and family know better, and that’s what counts. Monday night, however, they got to me. Girlfriend, on the few occasions we’ve run into each other since I rather unceremoniously gave Civilian his congé, has been nothing but sweet. Sweet and now sour.
I honestly don’t see how it’s anyone’s business but mine and Civilian’s that I didn’t like him enough to put effort into a relationship that was, at the time, semi-long distance and requiring of excess planning and a presumed commitment. And I honestly don’t see why blame must be assigned for the ending of a relationship that never was.
This particular group has never been my favorite, but Super-Extrovert gets sad when I make too many excuses for avoiding his rather exhausting company. He is also going to be away for a month as of the end of this week. So, I sucked it up and went to dinner because dinner was the most convenient of his invitations.
Next time I’ll just have to suck it up and see him less conveniently.