Wayzgoose – an annual summer party held by a printing house for all its employees.
It was too warm and the cocktails had gone to my head all ready. I dipped my feet into the cool outdoor swimming pool of the hotel and watched everyone else. Everyone from work I knew was here, it was a work do after all! and there were people from other departments I had never seen before.
Everyone from the printing house seemed to be here; the big cheeses, the receptions and the kids who worked in the post room. Everyone was drinking or eating, talking and enjoying themselves.
It was good to be not at work in this four star hotel for a weekend party. It was the annual tradition of the business. A reward for everyone and a celebration of last year’s best selling books and online articles.
I hated it. I loathed shifting through the paper and online submissions. I grimaced at simple spelling mistakes and rolled my eyes at grammar errors. For years, I had read other peoples’ writings whilst mine had slipped away like shells out to sea.
‘So, I heard you’d handed in your notice….’
I looked up at the sound of the voice, frowning and scrunching my face up because the sun was too bright. It was Naz though, no doubt about it.
He sat down next to me and dipped his bare feet into the water. He was wet from a swim and there was a towel around his shoulders.
‘This isn’t a pool party,’ I joked.
Naz laughed and shook his wet dark hair, ‘everyone’s too drunk to care!’
I pressed my lips together and kicked my feet under the water. He was right, everyone no one cared and the drinks were flowing too much. Not even the Christmas party ended up like this.
‘So, is it true? You are leaving me?’ Naz uttered.
‘Yes. How did you find out?’ I asked.
Naz tapped his nose and laughed.
‘I leave at the end of next month.’
‘So you got on that journalism course then?’
‘University at the age of thirty-one here I come!’ I cried and swung my arms up.
A few people glanced at me then got back on with their conversations or nibbles.
‘Go get ’em girl,’ Naz said, ‘fancy a drink to celebrate?’
‘No, I’ve had too much.’
‘Come on!’ Naz half shouted and got up splashing me with pool water.
I watched him go over to the bar and a part of me wanted to get up and go, make Naz come back with two drinks and discovery himself alone. I couldn’t though, we had known each other too long.
He came back soon enough with tall glasses and something pink and fizz inside. I sipped it through a paper straw and found it fruity and sweet. We didn’t talk for a few minutes, just sat and watched a group of men try and push each other in the pool. Someone give at last and splashed in, followed by another man he had snatched the arm of as he fell.
Laughter and shouting rose up as people swamped the pool. The men got up and everyone distributed lured by the music coming from the marque on the lawn.
‘Party’s kicking off now,’ Naz pointed out.
I rubbed my head, feeling the growth of a headache. I should get something to eat and then maybe slip off back to my room. I wasn’t in the mood for dancing, having my bum and boobs grabbed at. Also, I didn’t want to end up in someone else’s bed tonight like a lot of these people would do.
I turned to Naz and saw him waving at someone, ‘Cherry in accounting, Let’s go say hi.’
‘You go. I’ll see you at the buffet table,’ I replied.
Naz nodded and hurried off.
I got my wrinkled feet out of the pool, back into my red flat shoes that matched my red cocktail dress and went to get something to eat.
There wasn’t a queue though there was enough people getting food to bump elbows with. Most people had gone off dancing. I got a paper plate and selected a few things, not really fussy over the trays of food.
I found a table outside and ate slowly, enjoying the setting sun and the lights coming on in the gardens. Noise echoed around me, the booming of the disco music, the shouting of the people. A woman was screaming somewhere- I guessed in delight as she was chased by a suitor? Or maybe a murderer? I didn’t care.
I finished eating and went back to the buffet table. I gathered some sandwiches, fruit, mini blueberry muffins and a few other things to eat in my room. Then acting like I was looking for somewhere to eat or perhaps the friends I had left a few minutes ago, I sneaked back inside the hotel.
It was a long way to my room and I was grateful not to meet anyone. Either the whole hotel had been booked for the company or the other guests were sticking in their bedrooms. I took the elevator and walked along the corridors until I made to my door.
Once in, I put the food on the desk next to the gathering of bottled water and fizzy drinks I had brought with me. A few packets of sweets and chocolates were there too. That had been my plan for night; far from the party and by myself.
I sat on the bed and turned the TV on. I nibbled on a sandwich and sipped some water.
What a way to spend my last work’s summer party.
(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)