“Can we have some less spooky music?”
The car was packed with alcohol, food, more eggs than either of us thought were necessary, and everything that we were taking with us for the next year. The long and winding road to our weekend getaway was comically scary, Highway 1 often was.
The trees loomed overhead as Radiohead’s Exit Music for a film punctuated each hairpin curve deeper into the wood. Thom Yorke abruptly stopped and a new song started. My friend fiddled with her phone and set it back down.
“This one is in french, so if it’s scary, only you’ll know” She said.
“Oh thanks,” He replied.
All of us got to the house safely.
Sometimes first impressions are the most important, and when we opened the door to the house, the stairs were covered in glitter and confetti, the whole house decorated in gold from the stars that littered our feet, to the straws for cocktails.
“There’s a lot of stairs.” Our friend greeted us. “There’s a lot of stairs.”
A lot of people put detail oriented on their resume, but I’m pretty sure the hostess is the only person that is detail oriented. She pointed at the glass runner in the middle of the table and explained how she decorated it so it looked more full and matched all the flowers she had bought.
Even the cakes had gold detailing.
We ate cheese plates and discussed a little bit of everything and nothing, friends kept arriving, and every so often the lull in conversation would be filled with another pop of the confetti champagne bottles.
Thirteen people arrived in all, torn between an entire table full of stickers, or joining us in job complaints, life complaints, or talking about my nerves over the upcoming trip.
It was strange how after a few moments of conversation, all the nerves were gone, replacing the mental exhaustion with job gossip and good stories and jokes about the strange art that decorated the mansion in the woods.
I was the first to awake, and I stepped out of our bedroom and into the kitchen (a strange architectural choice) only to see that the balcony door was wide open. The house was silent except for some crows that had been awake before me, cawing outside.
I crossed the dining room and went outside to see if someone was out there already, but as I padded around the wrap around porch there was no one. Had someone left the door open last night?
The valley was below me, mist settling into the nooks and crannies of the valley, a crow cawed, perched on the top of a tree directly in front of me.
Later, while I was drinking my coffee, the wind blew the door open again.
Like Mary Poppins, the hostess had surprises hidden around the house. She was setting up an elaborate tea party now, carefully decorating each tier with flowers, fully catered with sandwiches, macarons, and mini-cupcakes. I read the directions for the tea I had bought, once, twice, and a third time before looking at the array of tea pots.
I just dumped tea into the pots and hoped it was enough to not make it taste watery.
“Do I drink the leaves?”
I handed my friend the strainer.
I am a yoga teacher purely by accident, I flipped through my index cards nervously, each pose written out as my friends filtered in, one had driven two hours to come and visit for this class.
I got into childs pose and could hardly breathe. Did I look good? Did everyone understand what this meant? Why were the blue tooth speakers constantly phasing in and out of my perfectly curated not-too-yogi hip hop playlist?
About the fourth pose in was happy baby. My least favorite pose. An inside joke between my best friend and myself.
As I announced the pose the whole class burst out laughing.
My nerves went out with laughter as I rocked back and forth holding my toes. Birds circled overhead, a breeze blew over the lawn every so often.
The music soon evened out, and I realized that all the serious yoga enlightenment nonsense was just that, and that I needed to just have fun with it.
As we all tried headstand, everyone at a different level of falling over, I did have fun with it.
My first class was a success.
The hostess slid another four tier cake covered in flowers and gold leaf onto the cake stand, sticking out of the top was Bon Voyage.
I started taking out champagne bottles to stage the cake.
“Open the fridge door,” My photographer friend demanded, bent over with her camera, pushing the bottles around to get the correct angle.
I opened it all the way “Too much.”
Half way. “Hold it.”
“This is how photography works at the magazine, every light source is some oven light, or refrigerator, anything we can use.”
I thought I heard someone screaming in the house as we sat in the hot tub.
“Do you hear the coyotes?”
Another howl. “How close are they?” She asked her boyfriend sitting on the other side of her.
“In the gorge.”
“It’ll be fine!” He insisted, I stared down at the dishwasher pod floating in a soup of Dawn.
“No, it’s going to create a huge mess.” I insisted, fishing the pod out of the soap. Why were we doing dishes at one in the morning. “Haven’t you ever seen people do this on TV? It bubbles out everywhere.”
“Yeah but it’s water tight.”
I started absorbing all the Dawn with paper towels.
I woke up before dawn, peeked out my window and saw that it was still dark.
I closed my eyes.
The sun was shining.
My friend teased that he was the only one who got to see the sunrise that morning.
There’s something exciting about watching everyone put away the party, confetti mixed with flowers in garbage bags as the whole house woke up in a cleaning frenzy to erase all the fun we had over the weekend. Synth pop, final boss music, played throughout a mesh network of bluetooth speakers.
After an hour, there was no trace of the party left.
Except later when we got back to San Francisco and gold confetti fell out of my shoes.