Lucinda Trew: Women Who Lunch : Flash Fiction : September 2019

Southern Legitimacy Statement: Lucinda Trew lives and writes in Charlotte, N.C. She studied journalism and English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill…

Women Who Lunch

I was once hit by an automobile, announced the white-haired lady lunching with friends. At a crosswalk where there should have been a light. You know how fast the cars go between Franklin and Estes.

They know and they nod. Perhaps they know the story, too, but are too polite to point out the lapse.

They taste Salad Nicoise. Stir tea. Settle in.

Were you hurt? Not badly, but yes, my wrist and shoulder. To this day I feel the ache when it rains.

It was raining that day. I was shopping for dinner, back when we entertained. A visiting adjunct, from Spain, I believe. I had bought leeks at the market, for the scallops, some herbs. Two bottles of wine, both white.

The right choice, they approve.

She closes her eyes, savoring the meal that might have been. Are you dozing, dear? No, just remembering. James always says it’s important to present facts logically. Oh, we know – the professors’ wives club. Even so, facts get twisted, misconstrued. Evidence not verified. Untested hypotheses. Independent variables.

And independent women. With degrees of their own. Women who entertain.

Someone claimed I was drinking from a paper bag. Can you imagine? But it was the smell of the Riesling spilling down Franklin Street.
White where the red light should have been.

Her companions cluck and touch napkins to lip corners, tally tips in their heads. Were you, dear? Did you tibble a tiny bit?

I most certainly did not! Do I look the sort who drinks from a brown paper sack?

You know my favorite glass, Ellie. Crystal of Bohemia. From our trip to Prague. With sparkly, deep-cut stars.

They do know.

They know the dizzying brilliance of Czech glass. Of academic luminaries.

And of women who lunch, choosing words and remembrances with the same well-mannered care they devote to tenured husbands. And imported stemware.