Saturday night Jeff and I were part of the end of an era among my circle of friends; for the past ten years my friends Paul and Eric have hosted a big outdoor bash at their house around the first weekend in August (with Eric’s birthday falling the last week of July, and Paul’s the first week in August, the party started out roughly as a joint birthday bash, though it had grown into a large, professionally catered, themed event), but they’d decided that this year’s would be the last.
I originally met Paul and Eric through the DC gay squaredancing group I used to dance with; they left the activity before I did, and moved on to the gay rodeo and a bowling league, so the party attendees tend to be from these various, not always intersecting circles. One of the things I’ve appreciated about the parties is that they’ve given me the opportunity to keep up with old squaredance friends I otherwise might not see.
I made it to all but one of the parties, missing only last year’s when my mom and nephew were visiting and we took them to Wolf Trap, getting back too late–and too tired–even to make an appearance.
This ending has made me a little retrospective; a lot has happened in the ten years I’ve known Paul and Eric and been attending their parties, and I tend to associate the parties with certain events or processes going on in my own life. It’s even been somewhat cyclical for me: I attended the first with my then-boyfriend Jay, but by the second we were in the midst of a break-up and by the third were no longer living together and I, in fact, had moved to an apartment very close to Paul and Eric. Most of the intervening parties saw me single, attending either with the boyfriend du jour or stag; five or six years back I even hooked up, at the party, with another friend of theirs. Two years ago, though, Jeff was my date, and it was around that time, in fact, that we had just really begun to acknowledge that our relationship had gotten serious. Last year we didn’t attend at all because we were together with my family, and this year we attended as a couple, solidly together and moving on with our own lives; had this not been the last year of the event, by this time next year we hope to be living on the West Coast anyway.
So there have been a lot of memories associated with these parties, a few painful but the overwhelming majority very positive, and while it’s a bittersweet ending, it seems fitting.