Flip Side of Paradise
Jacqui Barrineau
Doorknobs Winner

We're only engaged, you know. I'm not yet Mrs. John Peale Bishop, so I don't understand why I'm killing myself over a dinner for Scott and his bride! But John and Edmund are wildly excited about Scott's latest story and new baby girl, so it falls on me to throw a party for the Vanity Fair crowd. And I don't care if 1921 has been a good year for Scott and Zelda! I'm not using Mother's crystal! If this party is like the last, the glasses will be only shards by the night's end – much like the myth of Princeton's gentlemen. Not that such things matter today. Decorum and dignity seem to be dancing away in this jazzy age.

Even so, John seems to rise above it. He'll be by soon. I'll polish the glasses and fix him a bite. He needs to eat. He's hard at work on the collaboration with Edmund; the latest piece is about Mary Magdalene, I think. I'm not sure, but I am sure it will be wonderful. His is a quieter genius, not loud like Scott's. Attention is an afterthought for John; not a requirement. His words, his talents, they're his own – and I love him for that.

I'll make the party a celebration for him, too. I'll serve Southern-style squab and the good whiskey he favors. A menu falls into place as I polish the crystal, and in glass after glass, I see our future: sweet laughter, hushed hours, maybe somewhere in France.

First published: February, 2011
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