Alice meets Victoria

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2008 at 5:27 pm

When Jack’s arm falls from Victoria’s shoulders to Victoria’s waist, he uses all of his hand – his fingers, his thumb and his palm – to trace the shape of her arm.

Victoria looks as if she listens still to the people around her who speak. Her head is cocked and she nods. But her breaths grow deeper than they were, and her fingers twist and curl.

Alice has not tried very hard to not watch Jack and Victoria.

Alice has been busy of course, putting out plates and serviettes and handing around hors d’oeuvres. She has been taking heated trays from the oven and sliding cold trays in. She has been telling people that the rolls are chicken and the triangles are pork.

She has been agreeing that Rose looks beautiful, that Mick’s a lucky man that yes, it is a gorgeous ring but no, they haven’t set the date.

Alice has been listening to the people who whisper about Jack. About Victoria.

…so that’s her

she doesn’t look that old

she’s very tall

bit of a change from Sue.

But Alice can do all of this. And watch Victoria.
Alice wonders how it feels to be at a party a stranger to all but one.

Victoria does not toss the hair from her eyes. She does not lift her chin or bite at her lip.

She does smooth at her skirt – a fitted flowered number that stops above the knee – and she pushes her fingers through her hair then rubs one finger down her cheek. She laughs at the local jokes as if she understands. Victoria holds a glass of wine (red, but less so than her nails) and always answers ‘yes’ when she is offered more. She shakes her head at food.

She lifts the toes of her left foot, then her right, then her left again.

Alice hopes Victoria has strong heels.

And always Jack’s arm moves from Victoria’s waist to her shoulders and back to her waist. From time to time, he leaves a kiss in the space between Victoria’s cheek and Victoria’s ear.

The kiss is not long, but it lingers and even from a distance Alice sees that Veronica swallows and presses her fingers hard against her neck.

Alice counts the people who have arrived. Ninety six. And she knows eighty two.

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