Chapter 21

Here I am at the dinner party. 

Surrounded by people I don’t know.

The seat next to me is empty, Celina has gone to the kitchen to help with some baking tasks assigned to her half an hour ago, and hasn’t come back since.

It's a large marble table I'm sitting at. One with sold surface and heavy base, something I've seen from Kelly Wrestler's design. Celina and I both love her Master Class. We saw the whole series on 2X speed while getting high. Two oval shaped glass vases take up the center space, housing a handful of white roses. I look around, the table is large enough to seat 12-14 people. The room we are in is spacious. In fact, the whole first floor of this house is dedicated to entertainment. There is a black leather sectional sofa against one side of the wall, matching the fireplace in black across the room. Above the fireplace hangs a large replica of O'Keeffe on canvas. It's 'Oriental Poppies' from 1928 - one of our favorite pieces. Celina and I have a lot in common, though we're completely different people. 

I remember last year before she had that painting, it was a projector set above the sofa. We would see Wooden Allen’s films together after class, eating from one large cup of froyo with two spoons. I wonder if she still watches tv or movies at home these days. 

 

Most people are scattered around the room. Two people I recognized from her Instagram stories are hanging out on the couch. Some guys in loose-fit linen shirts are standing, leaning in the doorway, drinking water from glasses. I don’t see cans often at her place, it’s either glass or ceramic containers. Once I grabbed a Lacroix from the fridge that she insisted on pouring in a glass with ice. She’s been considerate and hospitable since I can remember. We used to hang out at her place after the same class, working on our own thing at the same dinner table.

 

Mia would join us sometimes, and I've always felt she is the third wheel in our friendship, and Celina and I had shared something secretive on a level that Mia couldn’t have a grasp on. I took pride in that and liked to talk about inside jokes or things that only Celina and I knew, like how much we hated that guy from film class, who started every sentence with “I think” and ended with “But well ” as if he was too insecure to validate himself. We knew he was full of shit. We actually read those handouts together.  Mia was often left out in these conversations, but she would still laugh along at our jokes.

 

Mia is still setting up the table, she has silverware in both hands, placing them beside the plate gently but swiftly. She's in a white cotton dress, a silk bandana tying her long brown hair. I sometimes think if I have a face looking like hers, my life will be easier. I will probably have a boyfriend who is smart and handsome, wearing glasses when he reads and has grown up in a happy and comfortable family. Like Mia herself. I wonder if she ever has anything that she really has to worry about, like things with real consequences other than things to make you feel good about yourself for making an effort in life. She said hello to me when she placed my silverware. I offered to help but she declined politely.

 

Make it like home and just enjoy. She said as she lived here and moved on to the seat next to me. She smelled like fresh citrus.