The following is an excerpt from my book, “Skittles for Breakfast”…
Forgive me for the content of this memoir,
for I am not one to misplace honesty in the dark.
Losing friends and making enemies has turned out easier than I thought. I much prefer hating everyone while they continue to like and admire me, however, my acts of emotional destruction have brought me to where I am now…
You will never have the upper-hand, because I’m not afraid to bare my truth…
The Dinner Party
Preparing the perfect dinner party for a group of teenagers and college students who are animals on the prowl for free food, is surprisingly an arduous task…if the host is Robert Clarke. For me, putting together an evening that creates the illusion of a sumptuous lifestyle is key to putting my mind at ease and letting me live out a fantasy that will only become reality when I’m a rich and famous Hollywood actor/socialite. I took the liberty of having the Holiday Dinner Party, only to save myself from enduring an evening of not being needed for the chance that we were to do hold it at Missy’s house, the next sensible choice, seeing that she and I were the matriarchs of two different clans of friends that were somehow brought together by my own careful scheming. Which really means, I forced everyone to hang out and love each other so I could enjoy the company of all my peeps at once.
To ensure that my dinner party went smoothly, I planned, and planned, and planned. By using a structured itinerary, I carried out my dinner party duties precisely and with grace. But this was not something new for me. At this point, I had practically become a pro at hosting Dinner Parties. I have made such an impression on my guests that I received a suggestion from a friend to write a book about being a host. So naturally, I thought I would at least make it into a chapter. Here are a few tips I have learned in the Dinner Party business thus far:
TIP #1: Find a Cause
It’s a Holiday Dinner for crying out loud. There are needy folks out there who deserve love and attention, something I receive a surplus of daily. Why not spread some of that joy around, and build a charity around your dinner party to keep in touch with the spirit of the season? For instance, with SWEET DECEMBER: Robert’s Holiday Dinner Party, I instituted a Toy Drive. All guests were required to bring either a new toy or new board game upon arrival. By including said toy drive, you reach out to the community, and most importantly, the children. “Children in need” sells like Avatar at the box office and what better way to present who you are as a charitable, loving, compassionate person than to express your determination to put a smile on a little boy or girl’s face? And it also makes all the selfish assholes you invite feel like they aren’t going to hell and are sliding off the naughty list.
TIP #2: Pretend You Know How To Cook
Can’t cook? Have no fear! I can’t cook worth shit and at least I’m not afraid to admit it, unlike some of you readers. You know who you are. Even if you’re not certain what the difference is between a spoon and a spatula, there is a perfect method to creating the grand illusion that your cooking skills are top notch. Two words. The Food Channel. By finding a simple thirty minute meal recipe on the Food Channel’s website, any argument about whether or not your dinner tastes like something safe for humans to consume, is invalid. They’ll say, “Oh my goodness! This green bean casserole was made by Bobby Flay? Mmm! Talk about what a genius that guy is, am I right?”. Your guests could suffer from severe food poisoning after eating your home cooked, Food Channel meal, and they wouldn’t even have anything to blame. “It couldn’t have been the food Robert made. The recipe was from Rachel Ray.” Then you can laugh at the dinner table about how you and the Food Channel star who inspired the glorious meal, is one of your good friends and they emailed you the recipe just moments before the guests arrived.
Charm and false pretenses, for the win.
TIP #3: Save the Drama for Your Mama
Unless you are on of the Real Housewives, a blow up amongst guests at your dinner party is not ideal. To avoid a clash of personalities or prevent an inevitable fist fight, reevaluate your guest list. Go through each and every guest name and create a guest profile with the help of social networking sites. Leading up to the event, spend a copious amount of time researching and following your guests everywhere they go in order to secure a peace of mind when an invited guest turns out to be trouble. With this year’s Holiday Dinner, I was obliged to UN-invite two guests on my list. Colton Jones and Serenity Lockhart found themselves to be banished from my home after ————————————————————————(NOT AVAILABLE FOR THIS BLOG)—————————————————————————————————— ——————————–(SORRY)—————————————————————————–I commenced a new rule, which I then emailed and texted to every guest that RSVP’d. The rule would be to not have any conversation whatsoever about the absence of Serenity Lockhart and Colton Jones…
* * *
Anticipating Jayden’s arrival to the dinner party had my heart palpitating like a drum to a Native American tribal ceremony. I checked the mirror every three minutes, just to ensure that my appearance was suitable for the occasion, and I don’t mean the party, I mean, Jayden. Whenever we go for months without seeing each other, I am overcome with an exhilarating rush the moment I lay my eyes on him and his embrace is all I can live for.
“Don’t let Jayden hurt you, Robert,” Jane said, concerned for her best friend as I lied on her bedroom floor lifeless, the day before Spring Break our senior year.
“No one can ever hurt me Jane. Not Jayden, not anyone. You have to have a soul to get hurt, and that’s something you and I don’t have.” I have never been the best at telling lies, but for some reason at that moment, lying was never simpler. Lying with a laugh made it easier to breathe out my untruth, and at least it lightened the mood. The truth is, I knew I would fall down like a domino, but my innate need to be the last domino standing kept me close to him.
I delicately held onto the yellow sticky note in my hand that Jayden gave me.
It read: DON’T GET DIZZY.
* * *
A heavy knock at the door. I turned away from the mirror, straightened my skinny black tie, and hustled down the stairs, while maintaining a gracefulness as dinner party host. My hand slid along the banister, dressed with garland and darkish ribbons that so elegantly displayed the staircase. The whole house was lit like a candle. A Christmas tree, trimmed and sparkling in every room, illuminating the night and offering great comfort in my cozy home interior, adorned completely with warm inviting browns and reds. Angels watched over us, perched on top of a tree of their own, rejoicing in the celebration of Christ’s birth, and my impressive dinner party magic.
Upon opening the grand oak door, I stopped, for only a second, to catch my breath and prepare the smile that so effortlessly won over those who found smiling to be a chore.
After my second of emotional preparation was complete, I unlatched the door to find Jayden, standing there luminously. Compared to Jayden, my smile was no competition.
* * *
“I hate Matt,” Louis vented at the kitchen counter to the only four people who would listen to his rantings. Jane, Lydia, Lisa, and I were used to Louis and the thoughts he felt necessary to share out loud, even when not requested. Although it was no surprise to me that two men with extremely strong personalities, who were diagnosed with Opinion Vomiting by yours truly, would clash, I still wanted all my guests to get along. “Seriously, he just seems like a total asshole. Matt just rubs me the wrong way.” The explanation as to why was never in question.
The faint sounds of guitar strumming echoed from the other room. Angela brought her guitar, and thus generated an atmosphere I so desperately needed in the Christmas season. The bitch knows what’s up. I took to the floor to rest my mind, and let the music soothe me. My body began to sink into a cloud and the roaring fireplace brought me closer to the sun, carrying me toward the daylight. But it wasn’t long before the Jayden Eclipse arrived…
* * *
8 Months Earlier
“What would you say if ten years from now, I told you that I wanted to be with you?”
My heart skipped a beat and tumbled down into my shoe as I stood there breathless in the middle of the cafeteria line, oblivious to the ocean of students swimming around me. Even if his question was just “hypothetical”, Jayden crossed the line and kept on running to get as far away from the line as possible. Unfortunately, it was far too late to pick up my dress and run dramatically away from the question; Jayden’s surprise attacks were just too swift for me to counter. Cornered, I gathered the strength to accept his heart wrenching assault.
“I would probably die, Jayden.”
“Why? Because by then it would be too late?”
Tears rushed to the ducts but my eyes would not welcome them and neither would my pride. How dare you, I thought. Here I was, locked in a tower somewhere, longing for him to come save me while he gave me false hopes. I waited anxiously for a smile, a laugh, a wink–just something–to relieve my doubts and indicate that a mere joke was meant. But he stood there solemnly, staring at me, and overcome with a look of sadness and regret. It was if he asked the daring question knowing what my reaction would be, and wishing he had the courage to rescue me from my lonely tower before it was indeed, too late.
“Yes Jayden, because it would be too late.”
But I wasn’t so sure. I just couldn’t fathom the thought of Jayden ever being too late to come to my rescue.
* * *
“I’ve missed you, Robert.”
“I’ve missed you too, Jayden.”
The Sweet December air carried affection like a disease. Jayden and I caught the bug and our symptoms brought us closer together as he scooted toward me on the carpeted floor.
“I wish I got to see your face more. I’ve missed that face so much.”
The sides of our hands greeted each other.
“Jayden, I’m just happy that you’re here. And I’m happy that you will be staying with me tonight when I housesit.”
“About that…I don’t think I can,” My stomach sank. Spending the night before Christmas Eve in an empty house did not sound so jolly, and also, I was hoping that Jayden and I could have one night together, just us. “The thing is, it’s my family. I want to spend time with them and they miss me.”
“Well, I understand. Go spend time with your family.” I brushed his shoulder with mine to initiate a playful fight. He brushed back, and I floated away on my cloud all over again, but this time, I belonged to the night.
“What are you two doing on the floor?” Louis stood over Jayden and me, as I descended back to earth.
“Lying down. What does it look like?” I responded in a smart ass tone. Jayden was silent.
“Well, I just don’t understand why two guys would be lying on the floor together like that.”
“Well, I just don’t understand why you can’t mind your own fucking business.”
The sky cleared and there was no cloud in sight because unfortunately, Louis sent them all away. I’m not sure as to how Jayden felt about Louis’s Opinion Vomit, but at that moment, I thought of two possibilities:
- He didn’t care because I’m his best friend and doesn’t give a shit what people think. Or
- He became sick in his own guilt for acting the way he does when we’re together.
That was my thinking process then, but now, I believe in neither of those possibilities, especially the latter.
* * *
We snuck away and found a place to hide in the game room, away from the living room we had been lying down in. Jane, determined to make Jayden uncomfortable and save me from repeating mine and Jayden’s history, sent all of my guests from the game room into the living room to break up our rendezvous in the sky. I was thankful for her efforts in protecting me like she always does, but like I always do, I denied her and continued the rendezvous anyways.
Chest to chest, his grasp around me was near suffocation. We rocked side to side, not making a sound, isolated and free of mind. I didn’t want him to let go, and unluckily for me, he refused to. His lips found its way to my cheek, another curious symptom from breathing in the December air. Back in my tower from the year before, I heard Jayden sprinting up the spiral staircase, charging forward to break open the door and let me out of my chamber.
Angela entered the game room and instantly brought her hands to her mouth, out of embarrassment and surprise once laying her eyes upon Jayden and I in full embrace.
“I’m sorry!” she said, as she ran out of the room grinning.
I giggled while my head rested on his shoulder. But for Jayden, Angela’s entrance was unnoticed.
“I wasn’t serious when I told you I wouldn’t be able to come over tonight.”
“Really? Yay! But why did you tell me you couldn’t?”
“Because I wanted to see your reaction when I told you I would be able to after all.”
For a second, I thought his phone was vibrating, but it was just my heart.
* * *
I arrived at the Smith residence to housesit a couple hours after the dinner party. Jayden followed behind as my shadow. Once inside, he dug into his backpack.
“Happy 19th Birthday, Robert.” Jayden said smiling, gifting me the traditional bag of Skittles he always gave me on my birthday.
“Thank you, Jayden.” I thanked him with a hug, and set the bag on the kitchen counter. I took a deep breath as we stood in the kitchen, looking around the cold and empty house in silence.
There was a knock at my chamber door…