Poetry (part 1)
Livy smiled at us, as the room went silent, all of us smiling back. She was a dear to invite us all. Apart from Genevieve; that was an oversight. The long shaped room was peaceful for a moment, as there was no traffic. Nothing could be heard apart from the birds outside in the garden. Even Genevieve was quiet after a last nervous giggle. I did some slow breathing, stretching my linked hands behind me, staring at the white curtains in the bay window, rocked by the breeze. I managed to tune out the constant rattling of Genevieve’s pearls. Deep breath. Livy’s hair looked immaculate, the light through the leaded window turning her hair into a green halo. “…glad you all made it. There are plenty of lovely little snacks, so help yourself. After that, we’ll have Sarah-Jane’s poem.”
We obediently moved towards the little table, the coloured window patterns decorating the plain white trays. Taking a little plate, I felt much better when I saw the delicious spread, the ransom payment for what was to come. Genevieve’s tittering voice was too close. “Oh, I love canopies!” Someone snorted, and Genevieve laughed, “Oh dear…canapés, I think is the word? My Great Aunt always served them.” Dear Aunt Lettie. You’d never have guessed none of us ever met her. We knew more about her than we did about our own aunts. I helped myself liberally to my due. There were golden brown cheesy rolls, little rye crackers with a kind of coarse pate on them, and little kebab sticks with cheese and pineapple.
I was about to reach for a salmon cracker when Genevieve looked at my plate. “Well, I suppose your flowing tunic does hide things,” she laughed, “although I do think pink a rather unfortunate colour.” I felt my face tingling hot, and my left hand started to shake, so I had to hold onto my little plate with both hands. “I’m always careful,” Genevieve continued, reaching past me to take the salmon and soft cheese cracker I had been aiming for. Through the red mist, I counted three kebab sticks on her plate. “My figure needs careful looking after, as my body weight wouldn’t distribute like yours. I would look really awful.” I breathed in through my nose, out though my mouth, my eyes fixed on the salmon. At the end of the table, Livy was standing balancing a silver tray with champagne flutes with bubblies. I was so hot, I could gulp the lot down in one go, but I pulled the corners of my mouth up as far as they would go and took a glass. “Oh Champagne!” Genevieve sang out, “It is vintage champagne, I hope?” It wasn’t a question.
I choked on my first sip when Livy said, “Nope, just cheap prosecco from the Aldi.”
Genevieve did a half ‘ha’ sound, and started, “Well, my Great Aunt Laetitia always…” But there was a shriek and a laugh as Sally dropped her plate whilst trying to take a glass. I celebrated with another, larger, sip.