A Storyby Ann Beattie
Moira the cake maker had a broken toe, and Caitlin Lee was recovering from an appendectomy, so Janet recruited her daughter, Blair, and Blair’s boyfriend, Steven, to help her load the Subaru wagon with trays of food, serving implements, and enormous bunches of peonies from her garden, along with a pile of nice tablecloths and some sparkly stars to scatter here and there and, oh, how many times had people’s corkscrews broken during a party? As well as the one in her Swiss Army knife, she put in a Cuisinart corkscrew that her clients always fell in love with once they’d used it and—really last minute—dipped into the bucket on the front porch and took out a handful of shells, carefully rinsed by Blair and Steven, because those might be nice too.
It had been a rainy summer in Maine, but finally it was almost July, and sunny. Everything was very green; Janet had to duck to get under the wisteria growing on the arbor at the end of the walkway, amazed at the amount of lavender petals scattered prettily over the path. No doubt some would be in her hair. “Get a move on,” she called back toward the house. The only response was from the cat, who darted up the stairs and went through its cat door into the house.