Late lunch at Bloomingdale's with mother, the shrimp bisque matches her Marc Jacobs purse and it's not a coincidence. She's pathologically meticulous about her appearance and knows exactly what face to put on when a familiar voice calls her name from across the cafe. It has that tone that comes with way too much money and a questionable taste in home decoration and belongs to one of mother's expensive friends from last week's dinner party.
"Ooooh" she twitters with that fake New York accent, "we're having a little gathering on Tuesday, you simply must come". Mother knows the protocol, delivers a rapid Colgate smile and flaunts her new Bulgari bracelet with a subtle hand movement. The woman is standing behind me but I can almost feel her taking notice of the gesture and nodding approvingly.
"Good then" she says and the awkward moment seems to pass. I'm getting ready to breathe again when she stops in the middle of a step and looks at me as if I was a pet. "And one more thing". I'm staring into the bisque. "Please bring the girls".