TUESDAY, 6TH OCTOBER, 2009
We went to Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville on a terrible night, weather-wise. It was raining like hell and the traffic even more so. In the family minivan, Nadine was putting on makeup; she looked like a drag queen. No, scratch that. Drag queens look a lot better. Charlotte was yakking on her cell phone with a Southern California accent that was pin-point accurate, and yet she had never even BEEN to that part of the world. (She had auditioned for ANTM in New York City.) Joseph was tapping the steering wheel to big band satellite radio. Glenn Miller. When the mood struck him, he would play big band while he was beating me up. As a result, I HATE big band. I lost it when Brian Setzer Orchestra came out with “Jump, Jive, and Wail” in 1998. The first time I heard that, I wanted to kill myself. Sitting in the back seat, I looked out the window, watching the drenched and dreary landscape pass and listening to Theo Tams’ Give It All Away album on my iPod. I wondered, “THIS is what I’m doing on my birthday?”
All told, we spent forty-five minutes on the road before we reached the fucking golf course. Pulling into the parking lot of the clubhouse, I discovered that the place was nearly packed. I didn’t care if we never found a spot, frankly. But Joseph did, and we got out soon after. I kept a distance of 10 feet from the rest of the family as we walked across the parking lot. To the right of the doors stood a blown-up picture of Ashley Buonfiglio in her junior prom garb. Ashley looked like Leslie Mahaffy, who died at the hands of Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo almost two decades ago. Ashley looked every inch the perfect daughter in her picture, and it sickened the hell out of me. I would had rather had sex with Paul Bernardo, than spend an evening celebrating a stupid, spoiled whore.
Nicholas and Denise, her parents and my uncle and aunt, came out to greet the family. While they looked better than Joseph and Nadine, they still looked ridiculous. Nicholas had a purple suit similar in construction to the navy-blue bullshit that Joseph wore. Denise wore a dark blue pantsuit with a giant brooch. She had, like my mother, blonde hair (albeit shorter) and a seemingly permanent look on her face, that said “CUNT”. Apart from her federal government job, I only knew one thing about her: she hated me with a passion.
“Joe, Nadine, Charlotte,” the Purple People Eater said. “Great to see you.” As usual, he ignored me.
“Is the birthday girl here?” Joseph asked.
“She’ll be here in about an hour and a half,” Denise said. “We got her a stretch limo, so she and her friends can travel like kings and queens.” She turned to Charlotte. “How’s Savannah?”
“She’s with Lionel’s mom.” Lionel Campos was Charlotte’s boyfriend at the time. He worked as a private investigator. That was all I knew of him. And as for Savannah, well, Charlotte didn’t let me touch her at all, or interact with her in any way. I feared that she was rearing her to deplore me in the future. I turned away for a moment, and then:
“HEY, YOU!” Nicholas roared.
I shot him a look of disgust. “Don’t ‘hey, you’ me,” I said. Nicholas, like a lot of the Buonfiglio family, never called me by my name.
“Shouldn’t you be out doing steroids?” Denise sneered.
“Shouldn’t you be giving Stephen Harper a blow-job?” I muttered loudly. To which, she had no response, but to stammer a bit and say, “I’m going to check on the music.” She scurried back inside. Inside, I felt like singing.
“Behave yourself!” Nicholas snapped. “This is my daughter’s night, and I’m not going to let some smart-ass faggot ruin it.” He beckoned for Joseph, Nadine, and Charlotte to follow him inside, which they did. I chose to sit on the bench next to the entrance, still with my iPod, and also a stress ball.
I watched for thirty minutes as guests came in, dressed in their finery. It was a sickening exhibition. Eventually, I tired of the cold, rainy outside and went inside. The cotillion was being held in the banquet hall. Upon entering, it was horrifying, to say the least: it was a virtual celebration of all things Ashley. More blown-up pictures of her greatest hits graced the hall: Ashley on the potty, Ashley’s first Holy Communion, Ashley’s secondary-school girls’ soccer team winning the regional championship, Ashley’s award-winning ballet performance, blah blah blah.
Every table had a centrepiece of periwinkles and daisies, and a card explaining the significance: they were symbolic representations of the Virgin Mary. Whatever. The colour scheme of the papier mâché decorations was periwinkle blue and virgin white. It was ironic that the decorations, done with a reference to the Virgin Mary, were all over the place in honour of one of the biggest whores in the whole of Canada.
Joseph, Nadine, and Charlotte joined Nicholas and Denise at a long table reserved for “esteemed family and guests”. Obviously, I didn’t have a seat. I set up base camp, as it were, in a far corner of the banquet hall. Ashley had a FUCKING WHITE THRONE in the centre seat. Ugh.
I didn’t mind the buffet, though. I was hungry, and if I couldn’t eat at North 44, then at least I should have some of the buffet, even if it WAS part of Ashley’s cotillion. I piled my plate with manicotti, slices of beef with gravy, and mixed vegetables. For the next forty minutes, as I ate, I took stock of what was unfolding. The many guests were enraptured with the Ashley Buonfiglio collection. They could have given the same reaction to pictures of Ashley’s vaginal walls. Her riding Lady GaGa’s disco stick would have elicited applause. The bitch was untouchable.
Around nine o’clock, the lights dimmed, and Nicholas took to the stage and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Ashley Buonfiglio’s royal court!”
Everyone stood, except me. Nine mixed-gender pairs in blue and white dresses and suits entered the banquet hall. I looked at the program for the cotillion and found that all of them came from Ashley’s secondary school, Holy Trinity Catholic, otherwise known by me as “Our Lady of I Don’t Give a Shit”. Groan. The girls looked like rejects from Toddlers & Tiaras, and the boys looked like the road company from The Zac Efron and Robert Pattinson Experience. And they came out to the music of Pachelbel’s Canon. Ugh.
After the gaudy procession, Nicholas announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, escorted by her boyfriend Marvin Testarossa, here she is, the daughter that fathers would kill for… my baby girl, Ashley Mercedes Buonfiglio!”
Applause rang out in the banquet hall as Ashley, the blonde whore of the night, sailed in with her sort-of-cute boy-toy Marvin. Marvin, as the program noted, was in full Canadian Army regalia, and Ashley was in over-the-top makeup and hair, and a billowy white ball gown. The DJ was playing “I’m Every Woman” by Whitney Houston. I felt sorry for Whitney.
The buffet food was the highlight of the actual event. Things got worse as the night went on. Ashley made her remarks, Nicholas and Denise said a few words, the Monsignor of the Church of Our Lady of I Don’t Give a Shit did an invocation, and there was even a big screen DVD presentation of Ashley at her “best”. It was too much for me. I finished my food and walked out of the hall before anyone noticed.
In the wheelchair-access stall of the men’s washroom, I sobbed face first into the toilet. I had kept my emotions sort of in check for the whole night, but at that point, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was irate and beside myself with sadness. And then, I noticed that I had a full bottle of Tylenol in my breast pocket.
Without any hesitation, I took it out, emptied the contents in my hand, and shovelled them in big handfuls down my throat, crying as I did so. After the last pill went down, I sat in the corner of the stall facing the toilet, softly breathing. Suddenly, I felt my whole body slump onto the floor, and I blacked out.