When Christine walked into the office on Monday, her coworkers were discussing their weekends. The highlight of hers had been a phone call after church from her best friend who was loving her freshman year at college – in another state. Christine sat at her desk and looked at the calendar, ignoring the chatter about guys and bars. The marked out days showed she had been working here for two months.
“Whoopee. I should have a party,” she muttered. Then she looked up and said it loud enough for the others to hear. “I’m going to have a party. Wanna come?”
She held her breath when they turned and stared at her.
“What for?” Patty asked.
Mary shrugged. “Maybe, if I’m not busy.”
“Don’t be so mean,” Tricia scolded. “Of course we’ll come. What do you want us to bring?”
Christine smiled at her with relief. Maybe a party was a good idea. “Oh, you don’t have to bring anything. I’ll have lots of food.”
It didn’t take long to clean her studio apartment before the party. She covered the table with a pink paper tablecloth and matching napkins and laid out plates of finger foods. She placed bowls of nuts and candy on bookshelves and TV trays, but left little pizzas in the oven to stay warm. A couple of her favorite board games sat under the coffee table. When it looked perfect, she sat down on the couch and waited.
After a while she put the ice back in the freezer, but said, “It’s fashionable to be late.”
Back on the couch, she picked up the latest copy of Christian Living and turned the pages without reading them, glancing at the clock with each flip. Finally, the doorbell rang and she dropped the magazine to open the door for her three guests.
“Sorry we’re late,” Tricia said.
“Come in, come in. Make yourselves at home. What can I get you?” She walked to the table where bottles of soda and a pitcher of lemonade were flanked by paper cups that matched the tablecloth.
Patty stared at the table and frowned. “Is that all you’ve got?”
“Would you like water?”
Mary laughed. “No honey, she wants something a little stronger.”
Christine looked at her, puzzled. When she realized what they were talking about, she blushed. “I’m sorry, I don’t.”
“You could have told us to bring some,” Mary said.
Tricia had walked over to the table. “Don’t worry about it. Look at all this yummy food. I think I’ll have a brownie.”
Patty took her keys out of her purse. “You can have that later, Trish. Let’s go get some beer.”
Mary opened the door, and Tricia grabbed a brownie before following them out. She looked at Christine and shrugged. “We’ll be back soon.”
Christine’s face was burning as the door closed behind them. She had heard enough conversations about their weekends and seen enough blood shot eyes on Monday morning to know what kind of parties they went to. How could she have overlooked that? She dropped onto the couch and looked at the table full of food. It looked like a kids’ party, not an event for working girls.
After a while Christine realized they probably weren’t coming back. She started to put the food away, but first she bit into a brownie. It was pretty good; she was glad that at least Tricia had gotten one. She grabbed another and went back to the couch to wait a little longer. After flipping through her magazine twice, she looked at the closed door.
“Your loss,” she muttered and took the pizzas out of the oven.
She took them to the coffee table, then brought over a bowl of chips. After pouring a glass of lemonade, she cut a piece of cheesecake and stacked a plate of finger sandwiches with raw vegetables and added a bowl of dip. Balancing them in her arms, she took them to the coffee table too. Then she collected the bowls of nuts and candy from around the room and squeezed them in beside the pizzas. Finally, she got a carton of moose tracks ice cream from the freezer and a big spoon. After popping a movie into her DVD player, Christine gazed at the treats spread out in front of her.
She opened the ice cream, picked up the spoon, and announced, “Now this is a party.”
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