The 20th birthday party was themed “unicorn.” Mr. Fanny invested much of his time and talent into it; food, games, guest reservation and red carpet were perfectly featured. He had set out a budget for a few families and friends that could fit into their swimming pool arena with enough room to walk around. Kate seemed to be missing in the crowd as families and friends were up her sleeves to exchange pleasantries and gifts.
Brian was late and he panted his way into the party; neighborhood security meeting he had with residents ate deep into his schedule, that he thought he wasn’t going to make it- that would’ve been so feckless for a first impression, he had imagined. The moment he entered the ground he adjusted his hat, looked himself from head to toes as though he hadn’t noticed them before now. His black jacket over polka-dotted sleeves and jeans spoke the language of a celebrity. His stare combed around for Kate, as he tried not to be fussed over his lateness. He glanced at his watch- they might have come to a close or about to- and all the fun dilated away with it.
“Oh gees, where’s she?“ he said in his head, seeing Kate in every girl that came in sight.
A touch came on his shoulder, as he swirled only to behold the face of his mother, protuberant with smiles, “Where’ve you been, baby boy?”
He was still on the lookout for Kate. “All over the world seeking for whom to devour,” Brian replied, and she chuckled.
She handed him a flute of wine, waved at a greeter, and turned to Brian. “You’ve missed the fun parts of the party.” She caught hold of his disturbed countenance and hardworking stare. “…Gift presentation, red carpet, and music.”
“Who planned the party? All of that comes at the tail of the party. That’s wag.” He never had thought he would be reposed without Kate being with him; locking eyes with her; and telling her he loved her so much that he could take her bullets.
“Let’s have a seat over there,” his mother said; her stare at a table with fewer guests.
“What’s up, Brian,” said a voice behind Brian.
And his heart was suffused with excitement; where’ve you been, my soul proof? He said in his head.
“Been a while,” the voice sounded again.
As Brian turned around to behold his greeter, behold it was this neighborhood kid called Tony who stayed a few blocks from theirs. His countenance changed, his roving heart seized and his jaw pulled in disappointment.
He fought to say, “I’m good,” and refocused his search for Kate. She had baulked him of catching fun at the party even discussion with anyone was indeed an issue.
“It feels good to be our guests tonight,” that was a voice in the microphone and it was Mr. Fanny’s. Kate was standing by; all smiles, glittering in her off-the-shoulder red prom dress. A batty, contagious smile possessed Brian- he had seen her. A world record was broken!
“Brian, where’re you off to?” Tony asked, his looks running after Brian who gave him the cold shoulder, advancing to the front to see if he could lock eyes with her. He jostled his way through the attentive crowd and shot his stare as speeding light.
“Next is the game I entitled; a pick of love,” Mr. Fanny’s voice continued. It’s an interesting piece I pulled through. My daughter’s going to come forth and deep her hands into this basket to pick a paper. Anyone whose name is written on the paper will be with her till the end of the party.” He smiled at Kate and said, “Let the game begin.”
That was the moment Brian’s heartbeat resumed like a ticking bomb.
Anyone whose name is written on the paper will be with her till the end of the party: it resounded in Brian’s head and those words by Mr. Fanny wasn’t making him unflappable. He suffered the pains of a body whose soul was having a road walk. Pick any gender except a male, please, he said in his head, stroking his hair confusedly, his hostile looks questioning Kate if his name was in the basket, and was there any trick she could wave for his name to be picked so he could make her night blissful.
She had picked a paper, handed over to her father who opened the paper to announce the name. With bated breath Brian waited for the name to be pronounced. He shut his eyes and his heart did likewise. His knees were moving apart and his sniffing was as the snore of a speeding train. He could hear the bass beat of his heart; heaven was crumbling while he read the lips of Mr. Fanny make the pronouncement;
“On this paper is Tony Rightman. So who’s Tony Rightman?” he asked yet further, his stare combing through the booing crowd.
Brian knew who it was but for the smiles on Kate’s face he didn’t know why.
Is she happy to be with another guy? He thought.
For the first time in his life, he saw himself orbiting in the middle of mocking planets as Tony ran to the podium to enjoy his offer.
On his way, Tony stopped by Brian and muttered, “A pick of love knows Tony. You left me to the front so be my spectator.”
How did she know Tony? Are they having a thing prior to me? A catalog of words dazed in his head. He watched on; Tony and Kate stood sharing smiles, hand-in-hand and walking back to a love-bird seat set aside for the game. They were already bonding, catching feelings, Tony’s lips moving and running like the urine of a new born baby, whispering stuff into her ears that left her blushing.
What the hell is he telling her now? Brian’s thought fought within his head.
“Ladies and gentle men I present to you the latest couple,” Mr. Fanny said, “Enjoy the rest of the night ladies and gentle men,” he disappeared from the podium and Brian had disappeared earlier out of the sight of anybody, curled up in a sofa by the edge, entertained by couples dancing to the soft tune of the flutists. Being entertained was a struggle; he had suddenly mastered that art of disappointment. A lot paced through his mind; are we having a thing? Are we in the same box? I could be fooling myself, weaning on an unbalanced feeling for a girl that doesn’t notice me, that sees nothing than a kid called Brian, even if she were to say what letters of alphabet stood for, she wouldn’t say B was for Brian. Show me the girl in this hood that doesn’t have a heart warmer? I am falling out of love.
Right then his hand nudged his flute of wine and it fell and dashed into a thousand pieces on the floor. He stooped to pick the shards of glass. As he did, it was as though he was gathering the broken part of his heart; he had not been visited with such emotional slash-and –burn in the shortest time of knowing Kate.
The party was winding to an end and guests were leaving than they came. Brian had this drag to go after Kate whom she perceived was in trouble – yes the hood at the moment was no soft pie to bite and the impossible crime hung around. Upon searching for Kate he bumped into his father.
“Oh dad I thought mom said you went to the golf,” he said hastily, eyes scavenging for her.
“Sorry to disappoint you. I know you don’t want me to be here, whipping boy,” he said and let a laugh.
His dad cut in, “You look restless.”
Who wouldn’t be, “Kate look what you made me do.” he said in his head. “Not really just checking up some cake to scoop.”
“Naughty you, I hope you came in your car. I am leaving with mom.”
“God’s night, daddy!” he wished him “I am good.”
Brian started a search. He was everywhere for Kate, and Tony was out of eyes reach. He followed his instinct to the pool, lobby and corridor. The search got on his nerves when he ran into some random lovers in the toilet, making love and moaning.
He was almost forced to start screaming her name.
Danger was lurking. He ran upstairs, into Kate’s room; that piece was ghostly. And her studio was as void as an elephant’s tusk.
The penthouse! Yes, the penthouse, his thought intuited. He heeded and pranced to the pent house; on his way were littered cloths and spilled wine.
“Kate!” he yelled and kicked down the door before him.
Tony was in the middle of squeezing out of his lingerie and Kate was stark naked, with legs carelessly thrown apart.