Mrs. Fraser is getting
ready for dinner. A party of twelve. Very special (as always), designed to
impress Mr. Fraser's colleagues and their wives.
A black velvet
dress clings to her slim figure. Diamond earrings and necklace.Silver hair, coiffed in an up-do only her
hairdresser can accomplish. She's almost ready.
From a dresser
drawer, hidden in her silk lingerie, Mrs. Fraser takes out a silver flask and
swallows long and slowly.The liquid
fires up her throat and her nerve.
a lone walker–
cast in shadow
2. The Dinner
English china, Belgian lace. A table set for royalty. Mrs. Fraser longingly
gazes out the window. A summer night cries out for a barbeque, not caviar and
squab; beer not Verve Clicquot.
On her right is
grandson?Precocious is he? Toilet
trained in one week you say? Remarkable! Did you notify The Times?Yes, I'm joking.
Of course I'm joking.
On her left is
Judson Parker. She kicks his creeping foot away from hers.
Yes, I agree. Desperate
hunger in the world. Should all do our part. I'll start now and pack up this dinner for the
Homeless Mission downtown. What's that you say? A joke, yes. Just a joke.
bouquet of roses silky petals
fall with a
Goodnight. Thank you. Lovely to see you. Next week at the Henderson's? Can't wait to
see their infinity pool. A restful view, I'm sure. Perhaps, I'll jump in and
disappear into infinity. Yes. Yes. Another joke.
4. Lights Out
Midnight. The house
locked down. One more successful dinner. One more gold star.
takes out the flask again and places a bottle of pills next to it.She lines up the pills on her dresser. With
slow deliberation her hand moves from pill to mouth to flask, from pill to
mouth to flask, from pill to mouth to flask.
She was a bright student, Phi Beta Kappa.Married before graduation.Has her first child six months later.Three more children follow in rapid
succession.She moves to a New England
Coastal town and writes that she is happy.
She, with husband and children, move to Florence where he
continues his art studies.
She writes that she is happy.
Upon their return she teaches high school English and writes
that she is not happy.
She and the children move to a commune in California where
she grows vegetables, bakes bread, has a lover, changes her name to Sunflower
and writes that she is happy.