Summer in Portland is a sight to behold. The greenery remains lush, despite the heat waves. I remain enamored with the city, despite almost having lived here for a year. Things do not hold my attention for long. I am a notorious Irish goodbye at the end of a night or morning. Ask anyone who has spent time with me; I leave abruptly and with no small talk. I end phone calls when we are done talking, because I hate prolonged goodbyes. I have gotten better about not hanging up on people, because I don’t want to be rude. I just genuinely can’t linger for too long. This is not to say I don’t ever overstay my welcome. If I allow myself to really sink into a moment, I will stay for far too long because I don’t want it to end. I am sure that is the dichotomy of my anxiety. I am just an anxious gal that leaves too early or stays too long. The people I surround myself with are lingerers, who take serious offense to my sudden exits. For them, I have tried to be better. But there is an integral part of me that gravitates to the door during a night out. I find myself getting quieter, while silently mapping my exit strategy. My friends have come to recognize the shifty look in my eyes and the seldom moment of silence coming from me as an indicator that I will slip away if they take their eyes off of me, even for a moment. The one remedy to keep me still is to keep me busy. I love mischief more than I love leaving. My friends know this and entertain this solution. Recently during a night out in Portland, my friends and I went out to a bar called Loyal Legion. Every time I have ever went to the South East Loyal Legion there has been a wedding party out celebrating. I am not a big fan of weddings, but I am a big fan of wedding parties. I like to infiltrate the group. From afar, I will daydream about how they know each other. I make grand assumptions about who is with the bride side, who is with the groom side, who met the couple in college, who are the siblings, who are the childhood best friends, and my favorite- who are the plus ones???? It is hard work to join a wedding party. My friends, Sidney and Reilly watched from afar with me, while we openly discussed who to target as potentially “ins” for the wedding party. My desire to flee the bar melted away as my goal to understand the inner dynamics of the wedding party solidified in my mind. We started by ordering food and drinks, while we sat at the closest bar stools to the end of the bar. This placed us directly in front of the wedding party. I stopped my scheming when the cheese fries arrived, because I do have a hierarchy of interests. Cheese fries will always hold my attention first and foremost. After slamming a considerable amount of bar food, I tried holding playful yet intense eye contact with anyone who looked my way. This came across as invasive- I assume, because no one held my gaze for more than a few moments. Sidney started at the end of the bar while Reilly sat in the middle and I sat the farthest away. Sidney manned the bar stool by the water faucet, where she would casually catch wedding party goers order more drinks and refill their water glasses. She worked her charm and had a blonde guy who I would describe as cute and unpleasant chatting with her. The plan was working. Sidney was taking one for the team. I felt as though I was not contributing to infiltrating the group. So, I stood from my bar stool and whispered between Sidney and Reilly “I’m going in”. I danced toward and through the wedding party. Music blared over the speakers as the strangers in formal dresses and tuxedos parted for me to dance through. Like any instance of dancing while buzzed, it feels both good and well executed in the moment. I reflect on my actions as cringey and unwanted. But you have to put yourself out there to be seen by the wedding party. I made small talk with the sisters of the bride. I felt that the sisters could be a good angle, so I stood on my tippy toes to give my friends the signal to make their way over. As I looked across the bar at Sidney and Reilly, I noticed Sidney was still working her charm on the unpleasant blonde while Reilly was talking to a tall man with red hair in a well-worn flannel, with goggles strapped across his face. This man was clearly not a part of the wedding party. Reilly was losing focus. I couldn’t blame her. This man was wearing goggles in a bar. That shit is interesting. I snaked my way through the crowd again, strategically shimmying and swaying my hips to propel myself back to my friends. I found myself back in front of Sidney and Reilly. The red head with goggles made eyes at Reilly as he retreated to the booth where his friends sat. Reilly turned to us with hearts in her eyes and yelled in a hushed tone “Oh my god he looks just like the Weasley twins from Harry Potter”. Sidney and I wasted no time or energy to entertain this delusion. We yelled back at her “No Reilly, he really doesn’t. He’s just a tall red head”. She swore up and down that he did in fact look like a Weasley twin and also informed us that his name was Buck. Buck was a distraction from the wedding party, and I feared that we had already lost Reilly to his rose-colored goggles. (That is just a play on the saying “rose colored glasses”, his goggles were actually very clear and bound to his skull with a thick strap). I turned to Sidney. This mission fell on our shoulders for the time being, while Reilly focused solely on the similarities between Buck, and Fred/George Weasley. Sidney and I switched spots, which placed me directly in hot seat. A cute guy with shaggy brown hair and thick framed glasses made his way in front of me to order a drink. He looked smart and kind, so I took my shot. We made small talk about how his name was Charlie and he was from Vermont, and that he graduated with a degree in environmental science, which is also how he knew the groom. After talking for a while, I confessed to him that I wanted to be a part of the wedding party. He fully supported my plan. We had built up a story together about how I was a good friend from high school, and we volleyed back and forth with small yet important details that would be vital to this lie. He promised to introduce me to the bride and groom as his good friend. I felt the glow success surround me. The ultimate “in” would be a conversation with the groom and bride, under the guise of being a long-lost friend of someone they cared about. As I write this, this does seem very inappropriate. Charlie was my guy. We had built a lie together and as the groom and bride made their way over to Charlie and I, we internally prepared for the performance of a false reunion. I hopped down from my spot on the bar stool and leaned in close to Charlie to smile up at him. He looked down at me, then to the bride and groom who were now steps away from us. I could see it all over his face that he was panicking. Apparently, Charlie was not a good liar. The four of us stood closely to hear over the booming music. Charlie blurted words out like a child who was caught in a lie by their parents, the truth spewing from his lips before the lie could even take shape. Charlie gestured toward me “This is Libby, she wanted to get in with the wedding party so I promised I would introduce her”. Oh, how quickly I put my faith in a perfect stranger. The betrayal. I looked at Charlie and mouthed “what the fuck was that? Now I look desperate”. He shrugged at me and gave me eyes that communicated “you are desperate”. The newlywed couple laughed and gave me a hug, while quickly moving on to talk to the next wedding guest. The story we had built together never made it past each other. I looked at Charlie and he was clearly uncomfortable with the knowledge that he failed me. I wasn’t really upset. My guy just wasn’t a liar…. Unlike me. I couldn’t fault him for his child like honesty. I don’t think Charlie from Vermont who had a passion for the environment was a dishonest person. We made our way back to my bar stool. Sidney was now staring straight forward while the unpleasant blonde (who turned out to be a groomsman) talked highly of himself in her ear. His name was Steven, but on multiple occasions I heard Sidney intentionally address him as “Stephen”. I love when she does that. Reilly was now pulling up google images of the Weasley twins to hold up in comparison to Buck. She asked Charlie and Steven if they thought Buck looked like a Weasley, all four of us spoke in perfect unison “NO”. There was only one truth that night, and it was that Buck with the goggles did not look like one of the twins from Harry Potter. Reilly should take this as a fact, because Charlie even said so… and we all know Charlie can’t lie. I knew we had made it as far as we could for the night. People from all corners of the bar began to trickle out of the doors because it was almost closing time. Sidney, Reilly and I took an Uber home after saying goodbye to our “ins” to the wedding. I laid in bed the next morning thinking about how we would never see these people again. Buck & Charlie & Stephen (no… Steven). I wondered if in years to come we would be remembered as the annoying broads who crashed the party. Probably. My phone buzzed with a text alert from Charlie. He had texted me a half joking invite to the BBQ that everyone from the night before was attending, before people had to start flying home. If it wasn’t for the bodily havoc from the cheese fries and multiple beers, I would have gone. I would have infiltrated the group. I tell myself this. Reilly got a text from Buck inviting her to breakfast the next day, which we fondly referred to as an invite to “Buckfest”. She didn’t go. Sidney received no text from Stephen, because she never gave him her number. HA. I think of that night at Loyal Legion as one that I am glad I stayed out for. Rose colored goggles.
-Libby (A good friend of Charlies, from high school)
Libby Anne Groseclose