The party was, ostensibly, to celebrate the start of another academic year. My wife did not call the white tablecloths impractical, the caviar extravagant, or the Debussy emanating from the garden’s hidden speakers cliché. She wasn’t there to veto the paper boats, fifty of them, which I ordered online from a funeral company in Japan. They each contained a tea candle perched on the bow. They floated on the lake like ushers at a theater, showing evening to its seat.