You'll Always Find Me On The Edges At Parties

by Russ

What happened at the Walkers’ pool party will be one of those things we talk about for the rest of our lives.

I guess it started when Mrs Walker opened the second bottle of prosecco, and got that look in her eye.

I say ‘we’, I mean ‘they’. They’ll talk about it every time a few of them get together, I don’t imagine I’ll be there. I was only at the party in the first place because mum wouldn’t let my little sister go on her own.

It was one of those parties where it’s really for the adults to indulge in some day drinking, but the kids get to ask their friends over too, so they can make out it’s some sort of wholesome suburban event. My sister was invited because she’s mates with the Walkers’ daughter. I’m actually in the same year as their son, but, well, we don’t really mix.

Who he did hang out with was Chris Duncanson, sixteen like all of us, but he looked older. He looked like he’d been going to the gym since he was four.

It’s sort of frustrating that when they tell it, they’ll go straight to the punch-line, while I saw all the build up too. It’s a story to me, it’s just a result to them. Though I guess that’s what happens when you spend ten hours at a party, and the only time you speak to anyone is to ask for a glass of water.

I saw Mrs Parker as she became less and less concerned about pretending she hadn’t noticed Chris, pretty much in direct correlation with each empty glass. I’m fairly sure I’m the only one who noticed her encouraging him to drop some JD in his coke, just as she switched from the skinny wine flutes, to the fishbowl gin glasses. To his credit, Chris was pretty subtle about it all.

It was a bit of a relief when the light started to fade, not just because it meant it was getting closer to the end, but because, with the music overtaking the sun, I started to feel less of a fool, sat with my feet in the pool, very obviously on my own.

Mr Walker was oblivious to anything, switching his attention between the barbeque, and playing football with the nine year olds and a couple of other dads. The few times his wife did try to speak to him, he seemed less than enamoured, probably because she wobbled as she did.

Well, he was oblivious until it happened, obviously. His attention was very much grasped when his daughter suddenly shrieked, having spotted her mum sat on the corner of the pool, tongue fully intertwined with Chris Duncanson’s, as he bobbed up and down in the water before her.

The party ended very quickly after that, and they didn’t host any more that summer, which I couldn’t help but be grateful for. Still, I guess they’ll be talking about it for a long time yet.