What a day. Work was utter chaos, mainly because I’m surrounded by morons. Not a single person in my office has any common sense and I spend a huge part of every day wondering why I employed them. I’m surprised they even managed to write a CV, never mind making it past the interview stage. To make this Friday even more wonderful, everyone decided to go to the pub and insisted that I go along for a ‘quick half’. Three pints later and I’m finally home, looking forward to seeing the wife and watching a bit of TV. A relaxing end to a stressful week.
I open the front door, switch the living room light on and have a minor heart attack. The room is full of people shouting ‘Happy birthday!’ flailing their arms excitedly and there’s Jay with a big grin on her face. I realise she thinks she’s done a nice thing for me and so return her smile, my peaceful Friday evening slipping away from my grasp. My ever-so-thoughtful wife gives me a hug and wishes me a happy birthday. I manage a ‘thank you’ through clenched teeth.
Stepping back to evaluate the turnout, I’m surprised that I’m happy to see some people. There’s my sister and her husband, a few cousins who I haven’t seen since last Christmas, the mates that haven’t yet managed to piss me off, and Jay’s best friend who is irritating but easy on the eye. Not too bad. But then amongst these welcome guest, I spot some others. Those people I have on Facebook but can’t bear the sight of. They are all here. In my house. For me. Ridiculous.
The first dickhead I see is Alan. This is the man who haunted my nightmares for three years when I worked in the restaurant. He is nerdy, needy and weedy. The bloke followed me around. He was everywhere. He worked the same shifts as me, had his lunch breaks at the same time as me, and even joined the same gym as me. And then he figured out my routine. I’d work out in the morning and he was there, waiting for me. I’d have a cigarette before going into work, and he was there. He started smoking so he could join me. Obsessed is the word. Why he was here, in my house, I had no idea. Jay can’t have invited him.
But he’s not the worst one. Sitting on an armchair looking like she can smell a bad fart is Jay’s sister. She hates me and I hate her. At our wedding, when the vicar asked if anyone had any objections, she stood up. Jay’s only bridesmaid stood up and squealed, barely able to contain her excitement, ‘I object!’. Why did she object? Because apparently we had slept with each other behind Jay’s back. Apparently I was in love with her. Apparently I should have been marrying her instead. Thankfully, everyone saw through it and didn’t believe her. She’s a compulsive liar. She lied that she was pregnant once just so a bloke wouldn’t break up with her. Crazy, that’s what she is. Besides, we only slept together once and I was absolutely hammered.
Then I see Charlotte and Kerry. What was Jay thinking when she invited those two imbeciles?! Jay lived with these two through all three years of university which meant I saw them every single day when we started seeing each other. The only word that can really describe them is empty. There’s nothing between their ears except their wide eyes. When I first met them, I thought they were funny. Then I realised that they were just completely stupid. How they got through university I will never know. It is impossible to hold a conversation with them, they barely understand English. I make a mental note to avoid them at all costs and then I see the worst of them all.
Harold fucking Noakes. This time I look at Jay and shake my head. She smiles apologetically and scarpers into the kitchen, hopefully to get me a strong drink. I’m going to need it to get through the night. Harry is every man’s worst nightmare. We met him at our local one night and he seemed like an alright lad. Over time he became a good friend to us both. Then Jay and I had a fight one day and she went to live with her sister for a week or two. I didn’t see Harry for that whole time, but Jay did. He was going over there every day with comforting words and a shoulder for Jay to cry on. I stayed here moping around none the wiser. Then, I see them in our local together one night. The look on his face. I could have wiped that smug grin off his mug and he would never have seen it coming. Then Jay walked over to me. We chatted and decided to go for dinner the next evening to sort things out. That smarmy git’s face dropped like a teenager’s testicles. I only carried on talking to him because Jay insisted that he talked her into getting back with me. But I know he just saw his opportunity to pounce. He didn’t even come to our wedding, not that I wanted him there of course.
Jay comes in and hands me a cold can of lager. I take a few swigs and try to appreciate her good intentions. It’s not every day your wife throws you surprise birthday party, I suppose. I make my way around the room, thanking people for coming, insisting that I had no idea there would be a party, and pretending to laugh at anecdotes about things I’d rather forget. The majority of guests at my birthday party are those I had hoped never to see again. Maybe the people I actually like are busy, because Jay can’t have just invited this group of idiots.
It gets late and gradually everyone leaves our home. I sit on the sofa and yawn. Finally I get to relax. Jay comes and plonks herself next to me, equally as tired.
“Did you enjoy it?” She asks me.
“Yeah, I really did. Thanks love.” I smile at her and give her a quick peck.
“You’re not too annoyed at me inviting my sister and Harry, then?”
I lie, “No, of course not. It was lovely to see them.”
We sit there in silence, too shattered to talk. I consider going to bed, but she speaks again before I can move.
“I know you slept with my sister, Carl.”
My heart skips a beat and I struggle to find my words. “What? No I didn’t. She’s a liar, you know that.” I don’t sound at all convincing.
“It’s okay, Carl. Harry saw you two go home together that night but he didn’t want to tell me. But he told me three weeks ago.” I was surprised that Jay wasn’t punching me or shouting or packing her bags. She was surprisingly calm for a woman who had just discovered that her husband had had an affair with her sister.
“I… I… I’m going to fucking kill that man!” I growl, getting to my feet.
“Wow.” Jay says, still unbelievably calm.
“Wow?” I wonder.
“Well, if you’re going to kill him for that, what are you going to do when I tell you that I slept with him.”
“You… You what?! When!?”
“Oh… about an hour ago when you were talking to the group of people you despise. I hope you had fun.” She stands up and walks to the bedroom. I stand silently, bewildered and shocked as she walks past me with a suitcase and opens the front door.
And there, waiting for her in the front garden, is Harry.
“Surprise!” He shouts. That smug grin is the last thing I see before the door slams shut.