“Is there anything more terrible than Death?
Sitting in the garden on a not so comfortable chair, Sarah seemed thoughtful as though she was wondering if there was any way this party (the same one she had been excitedly looking forward to for weeks) could possibly get more boring than it already was!
Just then Sarah spotted Harper.
Fashionably late, sharply dressed and über confident Harper glided into the dimly lit greens with his signature swag. A strong and distinct persona, one could perhaps for a moment ignore Harper but you couldn’t miss him. Any kind of relationship with him seldom conformed to the shades of grey kind of sentiment and before your mind begins to wander off please understand I’m talking metaphors here and not “Grey” the fiction book discreetly sitting in your bedside drawer!
With Harper everything was black or white. People either hated him fervently or adored him ardently but the majority of people hated the fact that they adored him!
Well, how one felt about Harper depended entirely on which side of his you had experienced? The warm, loyal, giving Harper had an equally unforgiving, never forgetting, icy cold side too! Sarah watched Harper as he navigated through the human maze around him, discreetly glancing around at the sea of guests. With a wave here, a wink there Harper made his way to the host who without losing a minute quickly took him by the arm and marched him off to meet the hostess. Did I forget to mention that the ladies loved Harper? They sure did! Was it his boyish charm, his fascinating wit or the ‘disinterested’ yet interested glances he so generously gave? Harper had forever been the ‘Mr. Popular’ amongst the society ladies.
The delightful hostess surrounded by a bevy of her selfie loving BFF’s was leading the group in finding the perfect pout for the camera. Hope you didn’t think that the glamorous ladies were here to simply meet and eat? NO! It was the much awaited picture time which they were most excited about. After all spending the greater part of the day at the neighbourhood salon needs to have a purposeful end doesn’t it? The meticulously taken pictures would of course be on their respective social media pages before tomorrows sunrise with the #aboutlastnight.
Taking pictures from all angles, posing with the perfect pout is hard work!
While numerous pictures are taken, only the ones which look most glamorous and appealing live to see the next day. Countless others are sent to the thrash can with an expression of annoyance reminding the camera that the high-heeled ladies never crossed thirty. Not in the fifty odd years I had known them!
As the host called out her name, Karen looked up from her iPhone X and waved. Braving the cold wind in her scarlet red sequin dress which had the perfect amount of bling for a night at the Cavalli Club, she walked towards the approaching men. Her seven-inch Jimmy Choo heels digging half way into her perfectly manicured garden, Karen walked straight to Harper welcoming him with her most dazzling smile and more than cordial pecks. Mutual compliments exchanged, Harper politely untangled himself fromher lingering hug to grab a drink and a gourmet appetizer from the passing waiter.
He scanned the whose who in attendance as if making a mental roll call of sorts.
It is then that he saw Sarah, oblivious to the fact that her eyes had brazenly followed him, watching his every move since his arrival. Sarah’s desperate attempt to reduce the boredom she was finding hard to conceal was returned with an understanding soft smile by Harper. Deftly side stepping those he wanted out of his path and exchanging pleasantries with those he didn’t want to ignore, Harper made his way to Sarah.
“I can’t believe you are here as well, S!” Harper drawled as he prepared to make himself as comfortable as anyone possibly could on the cane chair similar to the one Sarah was sitting on. Apart from the discomfort of the unbalanced chair, the dampness in the winter air had slowly creeped into Sarah’s clothes and minutes ago she had asked the waiter serving the wine to put a mat on her chair to keep the cushion dry. Perhaps she did want to warn Harper about what lay ahead if he sat down on the dew soaked chair but it was too late as he sat down faster than the time Sarah could articulate her concern.
“I’m really not in the mood Harper. I don’t think I want to be here for a minute longer! Can you fathom out a single reason why James, our seemingly sensible friend would like to have his house filled with people who either don’t know each other or despise the ones they do? Either way one really can’t have a meaningful conversation with anyone here. I say this evening is a disaster!” snapped Sarah.
As she paused to take a breath she looked at Harper expectantly waiting for him to say something. “Hmm…” said Harper.
Was his response an agreement or was he still pondering over what Sarah had just said? I couldn’t tell but Sarah seemed happily satisfied with his response and continued to chat. “I can’t tell you how excited I was for this party. The invites were beautiful and sent well in time since it did take me two months to find the perfect dress which matched the theme of the party, looked appealing on me and suited my husbands wallet!” Sarah’s face seemed to suddenly brighten up as she drifted into the past reminiscing the incredible feat she had achieved by finding a suitable dress which ticked off all the right boxes.
A loud, shattering noise jolted me. The charming looking waiter serving the wine had just dropped a tray of bohemian crystal glasses.
Karen was besides herself with rage. Her perfectly done Brazilian blow out hair and layers of Dior makeup now looking distinctly out-of-place. The shattering of glass had succeeding in rattling not only the hostess but me as well.
Harper and Sarah had retreated into the comforting shadows of my mind and since dinner was never served at these parties when one needed to eat, I felt the urge to quickly invent another new story complete with new characters to keep myself entertained through the night!
Just as I was about to let the horses of my imagination run wild again, there was a huge thud behind me. As I spun around I saw James. On the floor. He looked ghostly white and very still. The wine spilled from his glass merging with the blood gushing out of his neck.
JAMES WAS DEAD!
Urvashi Kumar Trikha
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