Catch up on my British girlfriend’s recent trip visit to me in America! Read all “How I Met My Girlfriend” posts here.
The weekend after Real Thanksgiving welcomed the new and improved Friendsgiving. The guest list included myself, Jas, my brother, my sister, her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s brother (both good friends of mine), our cousin, and my two friends, Tessa and Alicyn. I sent out group chat message two weeks prior:
FRIENDSGIVING EXTRAVAGANZA 🍂🦃🍁
first off i apologize for a group chat via text message that you can’t leave
here is the menu kids:
jess-stuffing (no celery bc EW)
tessa-turkey & gravy
alicyn-sweet potato marshmallow creation, broccoli casserole
kalie-secret great grandma mac and cheese recipe re-created (attempt #2)
manda-sticky toffee pudding with custard
drinks-there will be a bottle of chardonnay courtesy of The Mom. but apart from probably one glass a person, please bring your own drinks. yes i will be drinking. yes i will be annoying because of said drinks
dress code-yes there is a dress code! at least semi-formal please! no t-shirts and no sweatshirts. josh and conor, may i suggest the matching sweaters. jeans may be permitted with formal tops. i will likely be wearing a blazer because i look great wearing it. Jas will be wearing a perfect black holiday skirt. there will be a photo session so be prepared to look dashing
date/time-saturday, december 7. dinner is served at 4:30 so u are expected to be here before 4:30. i will be hungry, so do not keep this taurus waiting
drinkers are encouraged to join us for a sleepover. please bring an air mattress if possible. rsvp to the sleepover so i can make sure we have enough pillows and blankets
let me know if you have any questions despite this clear and engaging list of info
My sister showed up cranky and hungry, and the delay of turkey set us behind schedule slightly. Her intensity, the number of people waiting at the table for food, and playing hostess for the first time had me gulping my first glass of chardonnay. But by the time we all gathered for the very first time over a dish-to-share feast, and the chardonnay and laughter numbed the hard, wooden chairs of the dining room table for the several hours we sat there chatting and eating. I wrapped up my three whiney babies with blankets halfway after the sticky toffee pudding. (My whiney babies being Jas, Tessa, and Alicyn.)
Everyone talked and laughed; at least half of us sported cheeks flushed with alcohol. We crossed one dangerous moment (the allegedly questionable character of Taylor Swift) quickly before I had to unfriend anyone at this holiday gathering. My cousin, Kalie, announced the quips of her college friends’ shitting-themselves stories, adding their insistence that these stories are apparently common, to which I (and most of the table) objected. Jas countered by offering her two shitting-herself stories. (“But I was ill!! It doesn’t count the same!!”)
My mom took photos of all of us at my request, but we tragically waited until the sun could no longer spare a few rays of natural light through the windows. Instead, we now have a collection of pictures in which the front row got blasted with the fluorescents of the dining room. My smile stretched wide across my paled and yellowed face. I don’t smile like that all the time. Only when I’m happy.
Jas and I went shopping for her outfit at a resale place the week before, and I settled into the seat outside the dressing room, crossing and uncrossing my ankles, itching my skin, eyes darting everywhere as I waited for her to pop open the door after each outfit. Jas hates trying on clothes. The wrong fit could easily trigger crushing self-doubt—something I, myself (or maybe any woman), had certainly been familiar with.
She resurfaced with a winning outfit, God, I love this! It looks perfect on you, Jas. I smiled a lot, consciously over-animated, asked her to spin, touched the clothing, gave her a look up and down, flooded her with more oohs and ahs. I think maybe a past version of myself wouldn’t have given her the little cushion of reassurance and a very pointed, I can’t wait to fuck you, comment while trying on new clothes, maybe because I wasn’t so candid back then, maybe because I know her better now. She bought the outfit for $7, and we enjoyed the rest of the day.
When Jas and Tessa changed into their outfits before everyone arrived with their dish-to-pass, my two favorite chosen people discovered a coincidental coordination: Jas wore a black skirt with a green top; Tessa wore a green skirt with a black top. We laughed, and I pretended to be annoyed at their synchronicity, but I really just found it cute. My girlfriend and best friend matching by accident? [Cue big-watery eye emoji. You know the one.]
The sleepover group all changed into pajama pants at some point, collected more drinks before wiping off makeup, and never made it back downstairs. Jas sat on my bed as I took a makeup wipe to her face, swirling foundation and eyebrows like paint clashing shades before the wipe collected their colors. Alicyn set her drink on the floor. Wait, do we all get that? She asked, pointing at my act of service to the cutest drunk Jasmin I’d ever seen. Jas laughed at my deadpanned, no, and I tossed the makeup wipes at her feet.
Tessa crawled into a mound of blankets atop the air mattress, weaving in and out of conversation on the brink of sleep for an hour. I layered three quilts on the floor as a bed for Alicyn and Kalie, who stayed sitting and chatting through their drinks. I brought up a bowl for a nauseous Jas and three more White Claws as a final can for the night, offering to ditch the grapefruit flavor to one of them. I can’t have grapefruit, Jas announced from bed, despite the fact that she didn’t want another drink. It can’t mix with my antipsychotic.
Wait, Al said, Antipsychotic? I’m on an antipsychotic! To another hilarious coincidence, we discovered that Jas and Al take the same exact medication, the same exact dosage. We teetered on the quilts with laughter while the pair joked about their ill psyches. Jas laughed about eating grapefruit for a discreet overdose, as something in the grapefruit speeds up the release of the antipsychotic at dangerous levels. Alicyn made the same joke to me when I saw her last before Michigan locked down in quarantine. I laugh when they say it, but I took the grapefruit White Claw for myself even though raspberry slaps.
Alicyn turned her meditation sounds on, which she sampled for us earlier in the night and accidentally deleted her “perfect blend” of sounds. She crumpled to the floor in despair, crying, You just watched me do that??! I thought my ribcage might shatter from the pressure of laughter caught in my lungs. She crafted a new mix, and I objected half a dozen times to the distant choo choos of a train, of which she completely ignored. I awoke to that damn train several times during the night. I tease her about the train now, but I’d been so happy that nothing could touch me then.
I’d never had so many people I love so much be together before. I smiled and laughed so often that it gave me face and stomach aches. And I’ll be looking forward to another day like this, but even bigger. Maybe a day that will blend more friends, more families, more borders. I think you know what day that is. I think about it all the time.