7: “That feels like a lot of judgement from a man lying in his ex-girlfriend’s closet”

Oscar had been invited to Katy’s birthday party.

“No,” Ramsay said when Oscar told him about it.

“I can’t bring Erin, though, because she feels uncomfortable around Katy,” Oscar replied.

“No shit,” Ramsay rolled his eyes.

“I can’t just not go,” Oscar argued, but even as he said the words, he knew they weren’t true. He just didn’t want to not go. He had gone to Katy’s birthday party every year for five years. He was having trouble sorting out his feelings for Katy now. He wasn’t sure he was still as in love with her as he had once been, but he also wasn’t sure he was as un-in love with her as he should’ve been. Part of him recognized that he had no right to be angry with her or Ezra for being happy together because, now that he wasn’t with Katy, he had absolutely no right. At the same time, another part of him wanted Ezra to fall down a manhole.

“You can absolutely not go,” Ramsay returned. “And you shouldn’t.”

Oscar gave up on him and turned to Frank instead. He had managed to catch his two roommates in a rare moment when they were all home and awake at the same time. It was eleven o’clock on a Wednesday evening. Frank was getting ready for work. Ramsay was getting ready for bed.

“Well, maybe you would like to go with me,” Oscar extended the invitation to Frank.

“From the sounds of things, no I wouldn’t,” Frank replied.

“Katy always has a lot of really great food,” Oscar attempted persuasiveness.

“Okay,” Frank replied, but he clearly wasn’t agreeing to go. He was just confused as to why Oscar was telling him that.

“Oh, sorry, that would’ve worked on a lot of my other friends,” Oscar explained. And in fact it did.

Miles declined as well, stating that he refused to enable Oscar in that way, but Oscar knew it was actually just because he had plans with Iggy. Oscar also suspected Ramsay had gotten to him first so regardless of whether or not Miles actually cared about enabling Oscar, he was far too afraid of Ramsay and his wrath to ever actually go. Robin, on the other hand, appeared not to care about Ramsay’s wrath. Oscar assumed this was down to Finch, who was still terrifying, even though they’d known him for quite some time. In any case, Oscar was more than willing to roll with it in this instance because it worked in his favour. He ended up going to Katy’s birthday party with Robin, Finch, Joey, and Finch’s roommate Gord. Oscar even managed to convince Frank to come along in the end. He wasn’t sure his powers of persuasion were as high as he gave himself credit for; it more likely had to do with the fact that Frank was nocturnal and had nothing better to do.

Katy’s birthday party was at her apartment, Oscar’s old apartment, and it was crammed full of people. Smug Colin was there, being smug and irritating. Ezra and his brilliantly shining teeth were also present, as was Jana and Dan, Melly and David, and Mike, whose rented bouncy castle Oscar had once vomited in. As he had promised, there was an incredible amount of food. Robin ate four sausage rolls in the first five minutes they were there.

Katy came over to greet them, warmly and pleasantly as always. She was so nice. Oscar could remember being nice with her. He said as much to his friends.

“I used to be kind,” he informed them sombrely. Robin laughed in his face.

Katy looked nice. Obviously she had dressed up for her party, but she always looked nice. She was soft and warm. People had always been drawn to her. It had been the same with Oscar. From the moment he’d met her, he couldn’t imagine ever not liking her. He wasn’t sure he had ever stopped liking her. Even while she was tearing his heart from his chest, he hadn’t stopped liking her. Miles kept telling him he needed to be angry at her to move on, but Oscar found that very difficult. He couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or not. His mother assured him that not being to hate someone was a good quality to have, but he was beginning to fear that it was going to mess him up for the rest of his life. How was he ever supposed to move on from her fully if he could never stop loving her? Maybe he didn’t have to stop loving her, maybe he just had to stop being in love with her. The problem was that he wasn’t sure he was quite managing that either.

Ezra was a good reminder, though. He seemed to be everywhere at once, grinning with his absurdly white teeth. They were hypnotic. Oscar felt dazed every time he looked at him directly. It also made him feel uncomfortable and sad, no matter how many sausage rolls Robin handed him or how many shots Joey made him take. Although, to be more specific, Joey wasn’t handing out poured and measured shots in shot glasses. He was pouring vodka into people’s open mouths in what Oscar considered excessive quantities. It was a classic Joey move and Katy’s friends were powerless to stop him. He was like an unstoppable force once he got started. He refused to take no for an answer, which was how Oscar ended up taking so many shots of vodka. All in all, he was sure it didn’t help his melancholic state. Listening to Ezra’s overly loving birthday speech to Katy about how she was the light of his life and how lucky he was to have found her and keep her for the rest of his life certainly didn’t help.

Robin found him half an hour after Ezra’s toast, lying down in Katy and Ezra’s bedroom, partially in the closet. His head was underneath all of Katy’s work dresses. Oscar marvelled at the size of the closet. His closet was deep, but short and faintly pentagonal. Robin lay down next to him with a sigh. Neither of them said anything for a long time. Oscar was quite drunk and he assumed Robin was as well, as was the hazard of partying with Joey.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be over Katy,” Oscar admitted in the darkness, addressing Katy’s clothes. Robin sighed again.

“Bro, do you remember who the last person I dated was?” He asked after a moment.

“No,” Oscar answered honestly.

“Alright, I mean, it feels like something you should know, but whatever,” Robin returned loftily. Oscar could see him waving his hand about above his face in the periphery of his eyesight.


“No, no, it’s fine,” Robin replied in the same lofty tone. “Too late now anyway.”

“Well, I didn’t really mean it,” Oscar admitted bluntly.

“Oh, I know. I could tell.”

There was a beat of silence.

“Did you have a point?” Oscar asked.

“That feels like a lot of judgement from a man lying in his ex-girlfriend’s closet,” Robin retorted.

“So no point then?”

“I was just going to say that the last person I dated was Emma Harmer,” Robin began. “She was small and blonde and she scrapbooked for fun. She listened to Carrie Underwood and once invited me to a country music festival.”

“Well, that was never going to work out,” Oscar said, pointing out what he felt to be the obvious.

“No, man, probably not,” Robin agreed. “But I was in love with her.”

There was another moment of silence. It felt like there was something intangible, but important hanging between them and, despite himself, Oscar couldn’t bring himself to break the moment.

“And now I’m with Finch,” Robin continued eventually. “He and Emma couldn’t be more different. And I’m in love with him.”

Oscar’s immaturity won over and he pretended to gag. He blamed at least part of his reaction on the vast quantity of alcohol he’d consumed.

“God, this is so sappy,” he commented.

“Yeah, it is, but it’s your fault,” Robin retorted. “If you weren’t lying in your ex-girlfriend’s closet like a nutjob, I wouldn’t have to tell you these things. Just, you know, it will get better. You’ll find someone else. You’ll be okay.”

Oscar thought it over.

“What if I find Finch?” He laughed to himself.

“Please,” Robin snorted. “You would never survive.”

It was probably true.

“I’m happy for you,” Oscar told him genuinely, finally turning away from the bottoms of Katy’s dresses to look at Robin.

“Shut up,” Robin said in return.

“This has been nice,” Oscar continued.

“Sure,” Robin agreed dismissively. “Can we leave now? Because I am very close to Katy’s shoes. Hey! Maybe this will help you get over her! She has the worst-smelling feet of all time. Like, inhaling this smell should be against the Geneva Convention.”

“That feels unnecessarily dramatic,” Oscar rolled his eyes.

“Again, you are lying in your ex-girlfriend’s closet,” Robin replied. It was a pretty good point.

When Oscar and Robin rejoined the party, they found their friends in the kitchen, where they had been all night, compulsively eating snacks. Frank was giving Joey what appeared to be the most reluctant piggyback ride of all time. Joey looked like a little lemur clinging to Frank’s back, using the side of his head as purchase to hang on, freehand pouring vodka into Finch’s mouth. There was a line of people waiting behind Finch for their own chance. Katy had decorated her apartment in delicate pastel pink streamers and gold balloons. She had taken the time to put out fancy finger food. She had set out matching paper napkins and paper plates. There were coasters freely available. This is clearly not what she’d had envisioned for the evening. Oscar took a lot of vindictive pleasure in finding Mike in line somewhere behind Finch. A large part of him hoped that Mike threw up somewhere inappropriate.


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