Thursday, April 15, 2021

After the Last Guest Left by Barbara Zapson

Susan was very curious about the romantic relationships of some of her friends. After all, they couldn’t all be perfect! So, she decided to have a “hen party” and invite five of her closest friends, all of whom were in such relationships.
There was Jane, very proudly married to a cardiologist, who spent many hours in the evening out of their home, reading EKG’s; Mary, whose partner, Theresa, traveled for business; Linda, with four small children, always too exhausted to even spend an evening on the town with her husband, or have sex; Peggy, all aglow in her third marriage; and Liz, about to be wed after a six year engagement.
The only thing these women had in common (other than having perfect relationships with perfect partners) was that they were all in their late 50’s and every one of them gloriously happy in the connection they had with their significant others.
The women all knew each other, but were not “friends”, per se. The one common denominator was Susan, who was a good friend to each of them individually, but none would be termed an intimate, “best” friend, who revealed to her their innermost secrets. Thus, Susan was really curious about what made their relationships tick, as she couldn’t seem to make even one work!
After a few glasses of wine, the women appeared to relax and pair off with one another, settling down on the very comfortable chairs and couch, speaking low, often laughing and, after a while, one or two seemingly on the verge of tears. Susan served coffee and tea (decaf, of course) and delicious cake at about midnight.
After many goodbyes (some with a little uneasiness about seeing each other again and others actually spawning new friendships), Susan’s guests left. She cleaned up the dishes, put away the coffee, cake and tea and vacuumed the living-room. Then, with a glass of wine in hand, soft music playing, Susan settled down on the very comfortable couch to listen to the tapes unwittingly made by her friends, on recorders, which had been placed under each plush pillow.

© Barbara Zapson

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