Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Precisely at seven, my guests began arriving at my stylish apartment in West Vancouver. They grouped together and immediately began to whisper.
"Look at how he's dressed."
"Who cuts his hair?"
"It really isn't like her to date white trash."
"Is he the writer who read at Ronald's party? No, he can't be."
The entree was served, and my friends spoke of lavish vacations. Jay didn't utter a word. As we ate New York cheesecake, my friend Alester inquired. "What type of car do you drive? Lexus, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche?" Alester owned a luxury car dealership.
"I don't own a car," Jay said. My friends looked at him blankly. "I use public transit."
They nearly gagged.
"Well, I guess you'll be able to use Gwen's Audi now," Alester said.
It was a loaded comment, but Jay simply replied. "Yes, I guess so."
Over cocktails, one of my friends commented, "So, Gwen tells us you manage a cafe."
"Oh, yes, I do, The Starving Artist. It's a collective-owned-and-operated cafe in Kitsilano."
"For emerging and established artists and artisans," he innocently informed them.
"You're an artist?" The room fell deathly quiet.
"Yes, I'm an author."
"With which publishing house?" Victoria inquired. She had recently divorced the chief editor at Fitzgerald and Fraser.
"Oh, no, self-published."
I heard gasps and saw shocked faces. The minute he left for the bathroom, they started yapping at me like Pomeranians.
"You're letting him use your car?"
"He's a gold digger. When he finds out you have no money, he'll dump you."
"He's not good enough for you."
"He's not rich enough."
"He's just a dreamer."
"You can do so much better."
"I'm in love. You're my friends. I thought you would be happy." My voice was measured, controlled.
"Are you planning to tell Patrick about Jay? Or juggle them both?" Alester sneered. Patrick owned the apartment I lived in rent-free. He lived half of the year in Ireland and the other half in Vancouver with me.
"Friends? Honestly, Gwen, how did you pick us?" I should have known Cleo would defend me. "This is none of our business. There's no ring on her finger. She's free to do what, and whoever, she wants."
"I'm planning to move out," I said bluntly, hoping to silence them.
"Really? You're jobless, penniless. Where are you going to go?"
Before I could answer Alester's question, Jay walked back into the room.