from Spill the Wine (summer before senior year)


Been back one week. My period still fails to appear. Saturday, we go to some swanky event at a posh hotel where another relative I’ve never heard of is celebrating something-or-other. Boring, boring; most I can hope for is maybe some good hors d’œuvres.


This party turns out more interesting than expected, though. I’m sitting in a corner, nibbling a pastry and watching Dad chatting with three people I’ve never seen before, marveling at how well they seem to know him, when he glances up and consternation flashes onto his face.


I follow his gaze. Hey wow, guess who’s here? Unni, all dolled up in a low-cut cocktail dress and looking delighted to surprise Dad like this.


Oh. My. God. The Norwegian boopsie he squired around Jerusalem has followed him all the way to New York!


Immediately, my gaze sweeps the room, looking for Mona. She’s here, of course; Granddaddy can’t keep her out of this party. But right now, I don’t see her.


I glance back at Dad, see that he can’t locate Mona, either. And Unni’s advancing through the room, joy upon her countenance. Emergency measures are required!


Leaving his conversation partners gasping, Dad rushes forward, grabs her elbow, whisks her through a one-eighty turn-around. I have to hand it to him, he’s got her straight back out the big double doors in no time. With any luck, Mona will never hear a thing.


But not before I see her joy turn to shock.


I slip out after them. The front lobby has windows facing the street. Through dusty panes, I watch Dad explain the situation to Unni out there on the sidewalk, strangers streaming past.


I can’t hear what he’s saying, but who needs to? I see her face crumple. I see her mascara run.