I’m going to have a party. A party to celebrate the renaissance of me: Robert Everett. I’m going to have the party next Friday, but I best pin the sun to the sky. I’ll move the table across to the wall so my guests can mingle in the back room and spill into the unfolding garden. Yes. What a perfect party room I now have.
Chinese lanterns. I could buy Chinese lanterns and light them when the sun falls. I’ll have to find a caterer as… yes I don’t think they’ll appreciate burnt smoked salmon (why would you cook it? It’s so clearly not meant to be cooked) Fran’s nose always scrunched like a sweet wrapper when she was angry.
Oh who to invite? The neighbours? I probably ought to if I want to be on good terms with them. But then if they’re dire I’m going to feel inclined to invite them round to everything. No maybe just a few close friends, intimidate. Yes. A little soirée. Claire and Mark, Bill and Helen… oh no Helen won’t come as she’ll definitely tie her allegiance to Fran and then if she’s not coming she won’t let Bill come. Open invite?
I could put it up on that Facebook… no. I float my coffee cup and toast plate into the sink. Will wash those up later- ah the joys of ‘later’. Ten past nine. I’ll have a shower and then… and then take a stroll round London. Can’t remember the last time I walked the streets just to see the streets. I’ll take my address book; find a café and ring people from there. Oh how Bohemian my life has become.
‘Benny, hello there.’
‘Hi dad.’ His concentration is already away from the conversation.
‘Did you get my last email?’
‘Yes I get your emails.’
‘Oh well you weren’t replying so I wasn’t sure you were getting them-‘ I coil the cord around my thumb and index finger, ‘How’s Jasmine?’
‘Still got a phone.’
‘Is she still seeing that boy… um Kai?’
‘She sees lots of guys.’
‘How are you?’
‘I’m fine dad.’ His sigh sinks his words.
‘What have you been getting up to?’
‘I’ve just been helping mum move out some paintings.’
‘Yeah the ones you left behind that she’s never liked.’
‘I can’t remember,’ frustration crackles along the line, ‘the fat lady in the bath, the Boston skyline-‘
‘But I bought that for your mum: she said she loved it.’
‘It’s easy to say you love things isn’t it?’
A child on higher ground.
‘There was a reason I called.’ My pacing has stretched the cord’s limits; I return to the table. He doesn’t fill the pause. ‘I’m throwing a party and I was wondering if you and Jasmine would like to come?’
‘You’re having a party?’
‘In a few days, next frid-‘
‘You’re honestly having a party now?’
‘It’s been quite warm I think-‘
‘With mum going through what she is.’
‘I’m not having it as a-‘
‘So while she’s putting her home into boxes, her home that she’s cared for thirty- two years, you’re going to lark about and have a party.’
‘Benny I don’t at all mean to-‘
‘To what dad, to upset? To rub it in?’
‘This party has nothing to do with that.’
‘Everything at this moment has everything to do with that.’
His words sit heavy on the receiver.
‘Benny, I’m just trying to be happy.’
‘I know dad. I know it’s all about your happiness, as long as you’re happy the rest of us can just patch ourselves together with your glorious happiness.’ Sarcasm dripping onto conscience.
‘Have fun at your fucking party.’
The sound of a breached phone conversation sounds like flat-lining.