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Crucial Update

So You're at a Party With Your Mom's Friends

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You're home on vacation and your mom asks if you'd like to go to a party with her tonight. There will be passed apps.


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4:00 p.m.

Your mom tells you that Kath is having a party tonight for her son because he passed his CPA exam, and she's really expecting you to be there. You have no idea what that acronym means. You don't bother looking it up.

4:01 p.m.

You don't have to come, but it would be nice if you showed up because Kath hasn't seen you in so long, and she was really looking forward to seeing you.

4:02 p.m.

Ok, so you are coming? It's really up to you.

4:03 p.m.

But it would be really nice if you came.

4:04 p.m.

There will be passed apps.

4:30 p.m.

It's so nice that you've decided to come, but you cannot wear that to a party in front of your mom's closest friends, according to your mom.

5:00 p.m.

It would be nice if you showered, too. She'll wait.

5:30 p.m.

Okay, she's not waiting on you anymore.

5:32 p.m.

You sit in the backseat of your mom's old car. The front seat is occupied by fifteen mystery novels from the library, Aunt Dina's borrowed deep fryer, and a Nordstrom bag filled with refundable nude shapewear. The seat back pocket stores an old essay of yours about Hedda Gabler. You buried the essay in that pocket during a teenage rage after receiving an 88% in 2007 even though you spent like three hours writing it!

6:00 p.m.

You walk into the party at the banquet room of a white brick country club (your cousin got married here) and assess the situation: Seven custom mylar balloons emblazoned with "Congratulations Danny!" (you still have no idea for what). Four bandage dresses. Three butterfly hems. Two persisting Kate Gosselin haircuts. One girl you recognize from science class.

6:01 p.m.

You and your mom get matching mommy-and-me glasses of rosé.

6:03 p.m.

Kath spots you from across the room. She beelines towards you. Arms wide open, covering you in the perfume that's so potent in a confined space you once threw up in the back of her car on a trip home from Six Flags Great America in second grade. She tells you Danny will be so happy you're here to congratulate him.

6:06 p.m.

Mrs. Archer spots you as she emerges from the ladies room. She asks you if you're a lesbian now because it always could have gone either way with you.

6:09 p.m.

Mrs. Parillo spots you as she leaves the open bar. She asks how it's going being a successful writer in New York City. You lie when she asks you if you've ever tried a cronut. You still want her alt daughter Kallie to think you're cool.

6:12 p.m.

Dr. Martin asks you about your vaginal health. She's your old gynecologist. Once she asks you how your brother was doing as she fondled you during your first breast exam. She asks you how your brother is doing now, too.

6:15 p.m.

Mrs. McCloud tells you that you look so much like your mom these days, but your face is much rounder than hers. She's three sauvignon blancs deep, but she said that last time you saw her in the dentist's waiting room two years ago, too.

6:18 p.m.

Mrs. Agostino yells across a plate of pistachio-crusted beef tips that she "read your little blog" and she thought it was "cute." You tell her that's your full-time job now and she laughs and says, "You always had such a deadpan sense of humor!"

6:21 p.m.

Mrs. Lin asks you if you think any of the boys here are cute. They're all Danny's friends and have gained a solid 30 pounds of beer and Jimmy John's Sandwich flesh since high school. One of them, Jack DiNofrio, used to cheat off you in Latin class even though you were a "B-" Latin student at best. You say, "Oh, totally."

6:24 p.m.

Mrs. Cauley shows you pictures of her shiba inu on her Samsung Galaxy for 14 minutes. You're finally starting to enjoy yourself.

6:38 p.m.

You decide to hide with a glass of rosé, spending 17 minutes taking pictures of yourself in the mirror of the country club ladies room until your mom comes in and tells you that you need to make more of an effort. You don't even know how she found you.

6:55 p.m.

You accidentally do the unthinkable. You bring up the word "Uber" and suddenly everyone is talking about Uber. You remember you did this accidentally with "iPod Nano" at a graduation party few years back and kick yourself for your mistake.

7:07 p.m.

Your mom's friends are still talking about Uber.

7:10 p.m.

You accidentally make eye contact with Danny, who you haven't really talked to since he spread that weird rumor about your boobs in seventh grade. You panic and make a peace sign at him. He does not reciprocate. You retreat to hiding behind your mom, as you often did as a child.

7:12 p.m.

You follow your mom into a seven-mom-deep gossip circle. The moms suspect Mrs. Schwartz has gotten a facelift. All your mom's friends start pulling the skin on their necks and eyes taut, suggesting they haven't gotten plastic surgery, but are open to the possibility.  Each mom waits for another mom to suggest she looks good with her skin pulled taut.

7:15 p.m.

Mrs. Petrakis spots you and your mom over a plate of melon-wrapped prosciutto. You and her daughter Katherine used to be so close and the four of you must get dinner together in the city sometime this week while you are home. She has obligations tomorrow, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. The dinner in the city will never happen.

7:18 p.m.

One of the women in the bandage dresses greets you by name and you don't recognize her at all. You say "How are you!?!??!?!?!?" with too many exclamation points. Your mom tells you three days later that woman in the bandage dress was Mrs. Schwartz. She really does look different!

7:21 p.m.

Rosé break.

7:25 p.m.

Dr. Martin, your former gynecologist, takes a selfie with you. You post it to your Instagram as a small joke to yourself. The next morning, your mom's friends will comment, "Looking good, girls!!!!!!!!" and "Sorry we missed you last nite , Clare . :)" [sic].

7:30 p.m.

Open bar closes.

7:32 p.m.

You overhear your mom telling Mrs. Parillo that you're thinking about going to law school. This is not something you've ever expressed interest in. You sulk in the bathroom for nine minutes and take a few selfies in the mirror.

7:51 p.m.

Your mom brings you a mini key lime pie as an apology for that slight of your personal and professional goals. You eat behind a closed bathroom stall and only decide to come out when you hear Mrs. Johnson mention there are party favors.

7:55 p.m.

Kath intercepts you on the way to the party favors. She asks you if you've wished Danny congratulations yet. You tell her about the peace sign debacle. She calls him over from across the room and you mumble, "Congratulations on your BCA, Danny."

8:00 p.m.

You leave. Kath only had a deposit on the place until eight. Danny shoots you peace sign as you walk out.

8:03 p.m.

Mrs. Casey sees you in the parking lot. She asks you how being a successful writer in New York City is going. You never did get that party favor.

Claire Carusillo lives in a bedroom in New York City. Follow @clocarus for an open discussion of books, bread, and eyebrows.