Were you that way too? Did they tell you to tuck a book under your arm, then deposit you in a corner armchair, promising to bring a treat soon: something cool in a glass, a piece of cake on a flowered saucer, a sparkler, a bonbon? Didn’t they then wave in that singular way, with the tips of their fingers, as they traipsed out of the room in the direction of the party? When they were gone, did you hear the faraway music their voices made, the sounds of ecstatic cutlery, knives plunged into the warm breasts of meat or fowl? You tilted your head back against the furniture, pretending the overhead light was a goblet spilling its contents down your enraptured throat. The book was a prop, a foil, a digression. Surely you were brought there to hone your senses. Surely your mission was to become one with the drapery, the mute arrangement of succulents on a celadon tray, the curling banister connecting the upper and lower levels; to pass soundlessly through the great room, where islands of people pressed toward each other as though afraid to be left by themselves or in silence; to find your way to the door that led back out into the green and cloudy evening.


In response to Via Negativa: Congregation.

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