Georgie’s apartment hovers over the corner of 13th and Spruce like a brick exclamation point, between Pine’s sleepy antique shops and the tattooed disinterest of South. When she bought it, they toasted her new life: the boutique she was about to open, the marriage. The exclamation then was: the world is kind enough to allow all things! The boutique closed after ten months of vacuuming the carpet early. The marriage ended after five months of fretful sex. The exclamation now is: I am petrified!
“To life.” Michael lifts his glass.
To life, the party replies.
Dinner begins. The plate of bread circumnavigates the table. The table is round, so no one sits at the head. Or everyone does, Michael thinks, slicing into the butter. Because it is a good dinner party, food is beside the point. Who cares what Georgie served? Vegetable lasagna and heirloom whatnot. A breathtaking salad.
Sarina taps salt from a reindeer shaker. “Salt,” she says, “is a combination of sodium and chloride. They are considered the bad boys of the periodic table. I learned that from our science teacher.”
“It is also what you give people who’ve recently moved into a house,” Ben says. “For luck in fertility. Or a seasoned life. One of those.”
Claudia gives a clipped ha-ha. “Who can afford a house?”
Feature image by Gina Beavers, courtesy Retrospective Gallery.