The boys next door

The knock at the door came at a bad time.

I’d driven for two days straight with a car full of things from my dead mom’s house–on the anniversary of her death, no less. One kid was in the bath, the other was clamoring for dinner. The neighbors were having a Sunday evening backyard party despite the drizzle and we had to shut the kitchen window because it was so noisy. The Kavanaugh debacle was still fresh in my mind and I was still angry. All I wanted was a glass of wine and to shake the knots out of my shoulders.

“It might be someone we know,” my wife said, and so I stomped to the door, ready to snip at whoever was there, and yanked it open.

“Hi,” said the rather good-looking young man on our porch. He was barefoot and held a can of beer in his hand. “We really need someone to take a group picture.”

I wasn’t exactly dressed for a party in my yoga pants and over-sized elementary school sweatshirt. I wasn’t even wearing a bra. Still. “Let me get my shoes,” I said.

The boys next door had strung up lights. Food was laid out on a red tablecloth, and music was playing. Fifteen or so early 30-somethings crowded the small backyard, trying not to step on each others’ toes in the damp grass. Jake and Patrick wore matching Hawaiian shirts; Patrick had their dog, Girlfriend, in his arms. A cheer went up when I came through the gate.

A blonde girl in a red dress handed me her iPhone and scampered off to join the group.

“Dude, did you knock on the neighbor’s door?” somebody muttered.

“I mighta,” said the barefoot beer-drinker.

“Hold on, I’m gonna take a bunch,” I said. “Hopefully one of these will turn out.”

I snapped five or six shots, hoping that everyone’s eyes were open in at least one of them. Girlfriend barked the whole time. The blonde girl came for her phone and squealed at the photos, so I guess I did okay.

“Is there an occasion?” I asked, mostly out of politeness. “Somebody’s birthday?”

“They got married!” someone called out.

In the midst of social chaos, when white supremacists and Nazis speak freely and without repercussion, where passports are being revoked and protections reversed, halfway through the reign of Donald Trump, Jake and Patrick got married. In their backyard on a Sunday night, surrounded by their closest friends, their chosen family. It was a surprise wedding, somebody told me. Everyone thought it was just a barbecue.

“You guys,” I said. “I’m gonna cry.”

“It’s okay,” said the blonde girl. “We all did.”


17 responses to “The boys next door

  1. Ok, so maybe I teared up a bit too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was so well written and a great story. I think it’s hilarious that they have a dog named Girlfriend. Congratulations Jake and Patrick! Hang in there, Cheetolini’s reign won’t last forever!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Omg. Way to make me cry on a Thursday morning, Christine!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the transition from sorrow and frustration to joy. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So much emotion. It’s this kind of thing we all need to hold on to. And ‘Girlfriend’ – oh, the perfection.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. And now I’m crying too. Thank you so much for sharing this! These last few… er, years, have been rough, so it’s amazing to see something beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the quick pace of this. You could have settled in on describing your mood or any other elements, but you didn’t have to. I loved it. And you are way too nice because I’d have been furious about having to go out and take someone’s picture on a Sunday, even if they did get married, but I’m a 100% certified crank so idk.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This was just what I needed to read today, for all the reasons you needed to write it. Thanks for sharing this moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The best stories are always the ones that about a story sure but, also, about so much more than what the words literally say. A beautiful, hopeful, optimistic story in a time where such joy is so desperately needed. Thanks for being so awesome. Good luck with all that is going on in real life.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This story left me with happy tears in my eyes. And it’s the story that pushed me to finally tackle my stupid “browser that wouldn’t let me comment” problem. Thank you for both things.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.