I don’t like surprises–specifically when I know they’re going to happen. The anticipation is too much for the curious cat inside me to bear/bare(?). I warn you to never lead on about something you don’t want me to know about because I will nag you until you’re on the ground, whispering soft reassurances until I finally leave you alone.
My boyfriend, Tim, in an attempt to shut me up for that very reason, right out told me, a week before my birthday, that I was going to have a surprise party, or rather a surprise dinner with all my friends. Well, that’s cool, I thought. I wondered why he told me, but hey, I can’t blame the guy. I’d tell me, too.
I’ve had to act surprised before, in a similar scenario, and I’m just not the best actress in my opinion. Plus, failure makes me anxious. So I figured we could just tell everyone that I knew about me knowing the surprise. That way, we’re all off the hook. No more pretending, right? Wrong. He didn’t want me to speak a word. With that being said, I totally did speak a word. To my best friend and my roommate. And for about a week, I let the others I knew were coming pretend to not know anything. Ha. Ha. Nudge Nudge. Yeah I know you know about something you know I know… Wink. Wink.
My birthday rolls around and I’m getting a kick out of this Aloof Game everybody’s playing. I’m feeding off of it, and totally playing along. You should know, I LOVE my birthday. The attention. The pampering. I’m not afraid to admit it. On my birthday I am allowed to act a princess. Period. I couldn’t WAIT to go to dinner and it be completely about ME. Full disclosure, I got a bit aggravated with Tim somewhere around mid-afternoon for various reasons that I don’t need to go into, but it’s good for you to know. God, my writing sucks today, doesn’t it?
Anyway, we’re arguing at work and then Tim leaves to go get ready for dinner. Did I mention we work together? I meet him at his place, we argue a bit more in the car, and then we pull up to the restaurant. 6:30 sharp. For some reason, I’m feeling very emotional at this point. I think it’s because I stopped taking birth control? Anyway, Tim says, “So, you’re probably not going to like what I’m about to say, but there’s actually no one here. It’s just a you and me dinner.” My face drops. “I thought it would be a funny surprise. Isn’t it funny?” I do not laugh. I immediately burst into tears. Call me a brat, I don’t care. But suddenly, my night of drinking wine in the middle of the table amongst my friends like Jesus at the Last Supper disappears. Don’t get me wrong… I love my boyfriend and spending quality time with him, but you can’t set my expectations so high only to pound them into the cement with a bat.
Well, he consoled me, told me it probably WAS a stupid idea on his part, and we went inside. Dinner was fine, mostly consisting of me drinking wine, feeling better, and telling him how stupid he was for thinking his idea was a good one. I mean, c’mon. What an idiot, right?
We were going to meet my roommate and her boyfriend for drinks afterwards, but to be honest, I wasn’t feeling it. So I told Tim I wanted to go to the work kickball game instead. On the way home, I sulked in the passenger seat as he silently drove. Conversations were short, mostly lined with sass and mostly on my part. But I felt justified.
As we pull into my apartment complex, Tim exclaims that he’s so angry he needs to work out. So he swings into a parking spot and turns the car off. “Excuse me?” He tells me again that he needs to work out to blow off steam. I’m thinking, What? YOU need to blow off steam? And I’m not getting out of this car with you. I’m in a dress!
He comes over to my side of the car, sticks his hand out, and insists I come with him. Why? I ask. Just come on, he says. Well, I start to figure something’s up. But, you can’t blame my hesitation at this point. Was he setting me up for another surprise only to pull it out from under me? I take his hand, reluctantly, and we skirt the corner of the building. My roommate is standing at the gate to our pool and ushers us inside. Now I’m really trying to put two and two together. Are there more people here? I’m looking around, searching for movement. Or maybe we’re just meeting Hannah and her boyfriend for a nice night by the fire pit. To be honest, the latter depresses me. I walk a few paces. The fire pit is lit, but there’s no one else around. Half way there, the silence breaks as a mob of people jump out from behind the pool house and yell SURPRISE!
I always thought I could read people really well. I always thought I knew how to expect the unexpected. But I did NOT expect this. Apparently I AM blinded my emotion at times. The first thing I did was look at Tim, hitting him lightly across the chest. He was smiling, like an innocent, yet guilty little gremlin. I didn’t know what to do as everyone began to edge toward me. The spotlight had never been so blinding. I smiled and put on a happy face, because I really, truly was. But guys, I had just been balling my eyes out only an hour ago. All of my favorite people were there, even those 100 miles from where I lived.
I was so happy. And I was so sad. All in the same night. I hated Tim for what he thought could have been funny, but I loved him for knowing me so well. For knowing the only way to surprise me. God, I hate him.