The Irish Tenors, Prime Rib, and Champagne

On the morning of the dinner party, Lydia woke up bright and early. There was an immense satisfaction to the day. Lydia was going to show her friends that she was fine, not a torn down housewife, but a woman who had it together. She had something to prove, even if she was not quite sure who she was trying to prove it to.

Lydia padded down the hallway to the kitchen. There was a nervous flutter in her stomach, but Lydia gave it no heed. A cup of tea and some toast, she thought, would fix that right up.

As she went to pour the steaming water from the teapot, Lydia noticed a slight tremor to her hands. She set the pot back down on the burner and stared at her fine china hands for a second or two. There was something about her stomach and her hands that Lydia should know, something in her brain, a memory, a thought, something that Lydia should be able to realize or understand, but could not for some reason, totally grasp.

She shook her head. It would come to her. Forget the tea, Lydia thought. What She needed an eye opener. Maybe a Mimosa. No! A Bloody Mary. That would do the trick. Tomato juice was basically a breakfast juice anyways. And the Vodka would set her straight. After all, it was a special day. She could have one drink.

At seven o’clock, Lydia took a final look around the house. Everything was all set. The lights were dimmed. The Irish Tenors crooned their ascent to a lovely evening. The smell of prime rib wafted through the house, beckoning guests towards a home cooked meal. The table was one that would have made even Sandra Lee happy. Lydia topped off her champagne glass and realized, a little too late, that she had managed to drink the entire bottle as she made last minute adjustments. With a slight hint of self-loathing and anger, Lydia walked through the kitchen and tucked the spent bottle under the newspapers in the recycling bin. There was nothing she could do about it now.

Once her friends started to arrive, the night went by in a flurry of conversations and food. Lydia was at all times a charming hostess. Drinks were constantly topped off, even when the ladies chimed they had had enough. Nonsense, thought Lydia, what’s enough? With insistences that the ladies all forgo their politeness and etiquette, Lydia would readily mention that tonight was not the night for social convention but a celebration of individuality. Lydia raised her glass and boisterously applauded women’s strength everywhere.

As the night wore on, friends began making their excuses to leave. It was, after all, getting late. Husbands were at home with children. A couple of the women said they had early soccer games in the morning, another that she had to go into the office even though it was a Saturday. Lydia tried to cajole the women into throwing off their shackles and dancing into the night. The women all looked at each other. Lydia caught the shadows of disapproving looks, as if she had said something profane or distasteful. Hastily Lydia back-stepped her plan, laughed it off, and wished everyone a safe drive home as she held open the front door to let them pass.

As soon as the last car drove off, Lydia burst out with a venomous peal of anger. Who did they think they were, coming in here, treating her as if she were some lost child. Pitying her. She was great. Lydia looked in the hallway mirror. There were dark makeup smudges under her eyes and her hair was a little disheveled. With a few quick swipes of her hands, Lydia was put back into shape. She was a good looking broad. Fuck ‘em. She could find a party. There were parties around. Bars. Nice hotels bars with Scotch. Nice hotel bars with twinkling laughter where beautiful, middle aged women could find company at ten o’clock at night.

With renewed energy, Lydia grabbed her car keys and set off towards the Four Seasons to find herself a drink and a conversation.

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