I walked down the stairs from my apartment and knocked on the door to the apartment below me. I nervously checked my watch and adjusted the bottle of wine in my hand as I waited for an answer. I heard my neighbor yell, "Come in," so I opened the door and walked into his living room. He told me the party was for his cousin, whose 40th birthday was on Wednesday. He also said that his priest and his partner would be there. He has wanted me to meet them since I moved here, so when the invitation to the cocktail party came, and I had no other plans, I told him I'd be there.
The apartment was full, everywhere I turned there were men standing, drinks in hand, laughing and talking with each other. The dining room table was filled with hors d'oeurve, and a small birthday cake. I spotted the sausage rolls, and reached for one. I'd smelled them all afternoon. The scent of pastry shell baking rose through the vents to my apartment, reinforcing my decision to go to the party. The first bite melted in my mouth.
My neighbor introduced me to everyone, explaining that I live upstairs. One by one, I shook their hands and said their names aloud hoping to remember them. There was Bob who is Craig's partner, and Greg who is Mike's partner, and Robert and Andy, and John and Rick, and Mark the cowboy, and Mark the dentist, and another two or three whose names I don't remember. Scooter the schnauzer, dressed in a handsome black sweater, walked amongst us, carefully making his way through the maze of legs, looking for crumbs that were dropped as we ate.
And I was the lone woman. You must understand this is an odd experience for a lesbian.