I was going through some of my old notes from my college days. I found this in my quick write journal for my creative writing 2 course, an in class practice write-in excerize. I had to giggle when I found this, because I was so clearly talking about actual experiences in my life. I think if I had to pick a title for it I would have to use the saying from Sartre, “Hell is other people.” Ignore the grammar, it was a quick, after all!
“Happy birthday, Janet,” Carl said, kissing her forehead.
Janet moaned, “It’s my birthday, I’m sleeping in.” She turned over onto her stomach, pulling a blanket over her head.
“It’s 1pm, how much later can you possibly sleep?” Carl asked.
“We’ll have to see,” Janet told him, her eyes closed.
Clumps of sweaty strands of hair were spread out over her face.
Carl sat back from her, fearing that he might have morning breath like Janet did.
He decided to move to the kitchen where he could start getting things together. Generally his girlfriend was the one who arranged parties, but he figured he might as well set things up seeing how it was her birthday.
Everyone was coming over in about an hour; there were a pile of plates on the table and turned upside down glasses. Her mother was bringing over a cake, no one trusted Carl with the cake. Carl didn’t mind being so distrusted in this case because he hated baking.
Around 1:35, his mother came over carrying a tray of deviled eggs.
Carl cringed in disgust, “Oh, man, those look great.” He told her, though the smell of the eggs were surely going to leave the apartment smelling for sometime
“Now, I know that Janet’s vegan, but everyone likes deviled eggs,” she said, moving past him to the table.
“Everyone but Janet,” he said, out of earshot.
“Now where is the birthday girl?” she asked, laying the plates out on the table.
“Still in bed,” he told her.
“Well, wake her up!” she told him, shooing him out of the kitchen with her hand.
“Uhhh, I just tried.”
“Fine, I’ll do it….”
“No, no, no, it’s fine, I’ll try again,” he hurried past his mothering, knowing that his mother would be the last person Janet would like to be woken up by.
“Janet, you need to get up everyone’s here!”
Janet scurried out of bed, throwing the blanket off of her, “what!?”
She hurried to the mirror and looked at herself, frantically combing her sweaty hair out of her face.
“I can’t let people see me like this!” she said.
“Sorry, when I said everyone, I meant my mom.”
Janet relaxed, then started to look sour. Carl wondered for a moment if she smelt the eggs, “She’s here?” she asked.
“Oh, well yeah, of course.”
“But we didn’t invite her,” Janet hissed, throwing her hair into a ponytail.
Carl shrugged, “she just knows things.”
Janet looked displeased with this answer, her arms crossed.
“You should take a shower,” he told her.
“I might not leave the shower, knowing your mother is out there waiting for me. Heck, I might even let myself drown in there.”
“Really, Janet?” he said, lying back on the bed, rubbing his forehead.
He looked up and Janet had left the room.
Good, he thought.
He heard her slam the bathroom door.
“Carl” he mother called him.
“Yeah?” he asked back.
“Carl!” she hadn’t heard him.
He went into the kitchen, the smell of eggs once again hitting his face.
“Someone’s at the door, I think it’s Janet’s mother,” she told him, laying silverware by the plates.
Carl sighed, walking slowly towards the door.