Winston had been invited to two parties that night. Both, it turned out, were on the same street.
He'd known Bill for a long time. They used to hang out together, but it had blown up years ago, a difference of ideas.
Maybe it was time to patch things up. Bill evidently thought it was. But there was some hurt there, and Winston had his pride.
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He'd been surprised to get an invite to Jacinda's party. She was new in town, but had been making quite an impact with people.
She had a good vibe, and he knew lots of people keen to go to her party. He was worried though that they were mostly younger. People Winston's age were more likely to be at Bill's.
Still, there would be people at Bill's party who'd been mean to him in the past. It would be awkward, which he didn't like.
Even though he didn't know her well, he could have a drink with Jacinda and get to know her better. He'd heard she was fond of a single malt.
Jacinda had some radical friends, however, who Winston couldn't stomach. He felt they didn't respect him.
In fact, when he'd encountered any of them he detected a condescending tone, slightly mocking. Which Winston couldn't understand, given all he'd done in his life that he was proud of.
Winston was becoming aware of how out of touch he was with the younger generation. They cared about stuff he didn't think important. And they thought they had all the answers.
As he drove into the street, he could see both houses with cars lined up outside. Jacinda's house was on the left and was lit up with red fairy lights dangling over the balustrades.
Bill's house had large gas heaters in the front yard that people were milling around. There were blue lights on tables that looked like they belonged on top of police cars. A joke perhaps.
Winston put his indicator on and pulled over to the left. He sat there wondering what to do. He could see that people were still arriving at Jacinda's house. There was a tent out the front and the sound of bass-heavy electronic music. The party was just warming up.
Bill's party looked like it had started earlier. A few people were already saying their goodbyes. It looked like a hardcore were settling in for the night though. Bill was talking to a small group of friends.
There were empty chairs at one table. Winston could see himself sitting there. Let people come to talk to him.
He couldn't see Jacinda across the road. He could see James though, one of her young radical friends. He was wearing a loud lime-green shirt.
Nearly everyone at Jacinda's party was in colourful clothes, a real rainbow assortment. Winston had on a dark grey pinstripe suit.
He could see there were more people in suits at Bill's party. He liked that. Business people probably.
He got out of the car and walked along the road. He'd made up his mind. He put on his best smile and strode confidently up the driveway.