Two hours before the party, though, crisis struck: the plumbing was more than a little backed up upstairs, and the kitchen sink had emptied out into Tina's bathtub (creating an interesting and amusingly strange sort of vegetable soup in the tub). I called Brian up, and the conversation went kinda like this:
me: Hey, how's it going? Wanna come over and start drinking early?
him: Actually, Faith was going to bring me.
me: Well, I have a bit of a plumbing emergency. The sink is backed up into the shower. I need help. I can promise beer.
him: Well, okay. Come pick me up. Let me shower and change.
Brian's been quite good to me, really. He's as dependable and as good a friend as anyone could hope to have. He may have his vices, but I will never be able to speak highly enough of him. I picked him up, stopped at Lowes to get some tools, then drove over to my place to get to work. We got most of the work done just as people began arriving (fortunately, everyone decided to be annoyingly fashionably late. . . Thanks for that), and I spent most of the rest of the evening getting Brian beers from the fridge.
As various small things went wrong after that, Tina kept asking me if I'd invited Eris to the party. I'm amused that she seems to grasp my relationship with that Goddess so well. She even treated the possibility like I did: she was good humoured and laughed a bit about it. When Eris shows up, you can't do much but smile and take your lumps, you know.
After we'd cleared everyone out around 2 AM, gotten dishes washed around 3 AM, and gotten ourselves ready for bed, I sat down with Tina in the living room. I took her hand in mine and I kissed it, and said, "Thank you. That was a great party, and a great idea. You can break up with me any day." And I meant it. There's no hurt, no pain. Just a good friend and someone who has made me incredibly happy for over seven years. None of this means I'm over her, and I'm not sure that will ever happen, but that's a chapter of my life that's closed. I intend to savor that chapter for a while before moving onto the next one, though. It was too beautiful to be forgotten.
As I sit here now, I'm not thinking about her as my ex-girlfriend. I'm thinking about her as my friend, and I hope that she stays my friend for a long time to come. I think she did right when she told me that our relationship needed to be redefined.
Sunday I spent mostly sleeping from the late party the night before, and then finally got off my ass and finished out the plumbing job while watching Dune and typing up a few short essays on various items. Well, I hope the plumbing job is finished. I think I have the water moving, but really, only time will tell (as it will with all things, it seems).
As I was working on the plumbing, though, I was snacking on various leftovers from the party. One of the things I grabbed was a pair of fortune cookies, fortunes still intact. I pulled them open and read each one, and was surprised to find that both contained the same fortune:
"FORTUNE COOKIE SAYS: DON'T LOOK BACK ALWAYS LOOK AHEAD"
Sometimes, the Gods speak to us in strange ways. Still, I think I'll take my time remembering the past. I already know the future looks bright and cheery, but I don't want to forget the past, either.