Thursday, May 23, 2013

Suburban Demimonde

"She's going again, I saw the cab pick her up," Martha's caller gasped.

"I saw. Gloves. I haven't seen her wear gloves since last Easter. And that sister's station wagon is parked in the driveway again."

Martha's attempts to wring from Diana any information on the whereabouts of Kate had been met by Diana with a hot coffee, fresh crumb cake and cheerful barrage of anecdotes about the children, but no particulars regarding her sister whatsoever. Diana was clearly an expert in the Cold War politics of the surburban wives' demimonde.

It really wasn't about Kate, but about Harry. They all felt just a bit protective of Harry, who had held them all at arm's length during high school, and those long college summers. When he returned to practice law, they wondered who would be Mrs. Doughtery. Would he bring home a sweetheart?

A decade later, despite innumerable dinner parties where cousins and younger sisters were paraded past, Harry remained single. Martha found the memories of the day Harry interrupted her as she gushed over her cousin, "with a degree from Barnard last year, you know?" still rankled. "I'm certain she's charming," Harry said, "but I am engaged." She still wasn't sure if it was the fact that Harry had chosen someone from so far away — Philadelphia. Or so old. Or just that she hadn't had the smallest inkling.

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