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(A short story of 1524 words)

Social Surfing


by Gail Aldwin

A Polish mother tries to make friends with other parents by hosting a dinner party. In spite of her planning, the evening does not go as Vik expects.

Placing the lilies in the centre of the table, the pink petals curled like tongues. The stamens waved and Vik knew to keep them away from the napkins folded into crowns. She didn’t want the linen marked, at least not before the dinner guests arrived. Taking a step back, she admired the table: the crystal glasses blinked as sunshine streamed through the patio windows, the place-cards indicated where each of the guests should sit. Vik had gambled on the best people to invite, keen to get into the group of parents at the playground gate. It was no fun standing alone while others chatted. Andy and Trudy lived a few doors away, so that was another reason to ingratiate. Ellen and Stuart were the parents of Lewis, the boy Damian gravitated towards each morning at drop off.

Vik had selected dishes that could be made in advance, and a casserole was simmering in the oven. Raw beef was sliced in the fridge, ready to make carpaccio and the apple pie with its lattice top was cooling in the dish. Serving fresh bread with szmalec was an after-thought, but one that would go down well with the men, judging by the way Simon lapped it up. It was a small reminder of home, her father’s restaurant in the mountains...

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