Party Foul

When I was in graduate school studying publishing, we discussed a certain author and her series in my book marketing class. A well-known author, she was held up as having her act together on the marketing front. So when I met someone who said she was his grandmother, I was in awe. My new friend had a famous grandmother in the literary field! I think I said something like, “I just studied your grandma!”

At the time, Selah was my only child. My friend also had children, who were just a little older than my daughter. So you can imagine my excitement at being invited to their daughter’s birthday party—at said grandmother’s house.

My friend’s wife warned me as we were headed in that the house could be a little stressful, as it was full of art and nice things. That worried me a little, because at the time of the party, Selah was newly two years old. And I was alone with her.

So, the nice things weren’t nice things. They were precious objets d’art, layered throughout every room. Fantastic, colorful African masks hung from the walls—at a child’s eye level and within a child’s reach. There were frickin’ crystal eggs precariously balanced on coffee tables.

Are You Kidding Me?
Are You Kidding Me?

Everything was breakable. Everything, even to my untrained eye, looked to be worth thousands and thousands of dollars.

I spent the party following Selah around from room to room, my arms outstretched, my mouth permanently formed into a “No.” The house was perched on cliffs overlooking the Portland skyline, and I sought refuge on the balcony for a while, where I only had to worry about my toddler plummeting to her death.

I had a glass of red wine that I had been carrying around with me, virtually untouched. When we got back inside, I parked it on this countertop ledge that ran along the length of the living room, and lifted Selah up onto a luxurious black leather barstool.

Which, of course, she immediately peed on.

Horrified, I leapt forward to…I don’t know what I meant to do. I didn’t have a towel. My intentions, at this point, have been wiped from my memory by the fact that when I leapt toward the child…

…I knocked the wine glass.

Oh, F---
Oh, F—

I watched as, in slow motion, it sailed over, splashing the RED wine all over the CREAM-COLORED wall. Wait, let me clarify. It was a cream-colored FABRIC-COVERED wall. This lovely, textured, cream-colored fabric.

The scarlet wine streaked both up the wall and down below the countertop. This was not a small stain.

My brain was moving more quickly than the wine. It quickly calculated the cost of the wall coverings. It told me they cost more than my master’s degree. It told me that this wasn’t one of those “I can pay for this” scenarios.

I found the husband of the famous author. I confessed. Honestly, I don’t think I even told him about the urine. Just the obliteration of his entire living room wall. He was a nice man, a quiet-seeming man. He made a face that looked a little like he was watching someone be torn limb from limb in front of his very eyes. I toyed with the idea of hurling myself over the balcony onto Highway 26.

There’s not a lot else to tell. I watched him dab at it, with that same expression on his face. Through a fog of horror, I heard him saying something like, “It’s OK.” But his face did not say that.

I took my child. I left their home.

That famous author is never going to hire me to edit her book.

Book Belonging to an Author Who Now Hates Me
Book Belonging to an Author Who Now Hates Me


2 responses to “Party Foul”

  1. Oh my. This reminds me of when I took Hannah and Simon to a baby shower thinking it was kid friendly. White leather chairs and strawberries do not mix. I felt so uncomfortable the entire time.

    1. Oh, I just cringed thinking about it! I love, love parties–and hate, hate bringing my kids to parties.

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