“Wow, Tanya, you made it,” Jenny says as she opens the door. She seems pleased to see me: wrapping her arms round me she says “So this is my flat.”
Taking in the room with a panoramic gaze, I see baking trays laden with my favourite foods: carrots, houmous**, cucumber, apple slices. Yum. And some of my best people. Settling down at a table, I find the open bottle of white wine, pour a glass and start chatting to Jenny’s sisters. Am filled with a warm glow of having-made-it-here.
“You look great,” both sisters say.
“Love your dress,” someone else says.
“Thank you. It’s Vivienne Westwood. It jolly well should look great. Actually: I get a lot of wear out of this one.” I say. Unlike some of my expensive clothes, I think.
“So, I haven’t seen you for ages,” Jenny’s sister says.
“I’ve seen you on the internet,” I say. “Your wedding photos are amazing.”
Her wedding was in a magical location and at least half the photos contain local lizards, buffalo, elephants, rhino and so on.
“So, how are you?” a school chum says as she settles next to me on the sofa. Have nestled into the corner seat. It’s warm and velvety.
“Um, well…” I say, not sure where to go with this one, pouring another glass of wine, starting another tub of houmous.
“Are things,” she pauses. “I mean, when my Mum saw you, you had just had surgery and…”
“I’ve got to have some more treatment,” I say. “The cancer has come back here,” I show her my chest. “And also in the middle of the new skin so it has a blood supply.”
“I’m really sorry to hear that,” she says.
And, of course, despite my resolution not-to-talk-about-it, we talk about it. And then we move on to other topics. It is nice to talk to people I’ve known for twenty five years. We reminisce about school.
Suzie arrives. More people arrive.
Have a lovely time at the party.
Hope to write more later but now it is MRI scan. Wish me luck?
*JG Ballard book. WordPress app on phone crashed so am writing this on Dad’s computer. Phone keeps saying ‘would you like a crash report’.
**have just checked the spelling and this one, the one I grew up with, is ok still. Don’t like the look of ‘hummus’ as a word as much. And surely the word is Arabic or Greek or something anyway…