Can’t wait to see everyone tonight! Can I bring anything to contribute, or just loads of fear and anxiety? I’m already pretty worried about what I’ll wear, and it’s only going to get worse from here. Do you mind telling me ahead of time if we can leave our shoes on or if we’ll need to take them off at the door? I don’t want to be stuck in bare feet, if you know what I mean. I’d rather discuss gnarly family secrets than have my dry old toes slapping around your hardwood floor in front of people I’ve never met. Does that make sense? Yes, exactly, my brain is a windowless prison and I’m doing hard time.

Seems like the main course is covered, so I’ll bring apple crumble. That way I can worry all night about whether it’s good enough, and if I get lucky, no one will want any, and I will perish. Can’t wait to say all the wrong things and then ruminate on every word for the next few weeks. See you at seven!

Wait, so when you say seven, do you mean six forty-five, or do you mean, like, seven-thirty/eight? It’s hard to know when to show up places anymore, so maybe I’ll just sit in my car down the street crying until a few people arrive. Is it too late to cancel altogether? If I cancel now, will you still invite me to future gatherings that I’ll dread going to, or will you stop inviting me places so I can feel like nobody likes me anymore? Ha ha, which is it, and can you tell I’m suffering lol?

If I give you an excuse to leave by ten, will you know I’m lying? Should I just sneak out the back door when no one’s watching? Is there a window in your bathroom? Ha ha, no, that’s silly. Honestly, I love hanging out with you guys. It’s just that I absolutely do not want to hang out. Does that make sense? It’s hard to explain because it involves deep-seated pain and confusion stemming from my childhood, which was actually pretty happy but simultaneously clinically “traumatic,” if you catch my drift. Should I bring flowers? What type of flowers? Should I bring wine? How many bottles of wine should I bring? Do you want to get lit and wake up with depression? SHOULD WE admit the pain we’re all in as adults? Nahhh.

Oh, thank god, I think I have a headache. Do I feel awful enough to crawl into bed and watch movies all night in my duvet like a gopher? Yes, I think—ooop. Ohhhh, so sorry to hear the baby is sick. The baby! Wow, what an unforeseen situation that can definitely not be ignored. Of course we can reschedule, yes, yes, yes, for a later time way down the road when I’ll once again be excited to spend a fun and carefree evening together. Can’t wait, honestly, cannot even wait.